5 shot, 1 dead in Portland mass shooting; suspect Ben Smith was right-wing extremist furry
by Patch O'Furr
CNN reports “The Saturday night shooting in Portland, Oregon, that left one woman dead and five people injured started with a confrontation between an armed homeowner and armed protesters, according to a Portland Police Bureau news release issued Sunday.”
It can be hard to trust police accounts if the shooter wasn’t actually a homeowner, and it was a one-sided attack on unarmed targets until one defender shot back. Those are the claims of some sources. The New York Times has a victim’s account that they were volunteering to reroute traffic for safety ahead of a protest, but weren’t protesting when they were threatened. One victim was a woman who walked with a cane. Oregon Live identifies a slain volunteer as June Knightly, 60.
The sources include investigators who identify the suspect as Ben Smith, 43, an outcast of the furry community. There’s also furries who know Smith, and local journalists with a history of reporting against political spin and suppression. Some of them compared this to other chaotic incidents with unreliable official news, delays and failures to respond until authorities were forced to by public protest.
At the time of writing, the police haven’t named Ben Smith, but the media has. People grieving the tragedy are waiting for the arrest.
It appears that this story may be another incident of right-wing violence with a risk of biased official response. And, it’s another incident from a far-right fringe of furry fandom that the main community strongly rejects. It’s been compared to the July 2020 shooting of Garrett Foster by Daniel Perry, a far-right furry who was controversially let go with no murder charges for a year.
UPDATE (Feb 22): Benjamin Jeffrey Smith charged with one count of second degree murder, four counts of attempted first degree murder with a firearm, as well as four counts of assault with a firearm.
The history of Portland shooting suspect Ben Smith (furry name Polybun) indicates his violence was predictable and motivated by hate. The facts may come from independent reporters and even furry news. Some may be pulled from investigator files because of record deletion we’re watching as the news comes out.
A right wing extremist shot into a crowd of unarmed traffic safety volunteers.
Portland mayor Ted Wheeler is ignoring this, the police are actively trying to obscure the realities while grifters like Andy Ngo attempt to characterize this as left wing terrorism. https://t.co/ZDU5y72Bsz
— Robert Evans (The Only Robert Evans) (@IwriteOK) February 21, 2022
I was part of a small group of researchers who uncovered the identity of Garrett Foster's murderer, Daniel Perry, in 2020.
We were *barely* able to archive Perry's social media before Austin PD helped him to scrub it. Portland today feels identical. 2/ https://t.co/ucFNTNNZwF
— Chad Loder (@chadloder) February 21, 2022
As soon as the Portland shooting connected to furries, the shooting of Garrett Foster by Daniel Perry instantly came to mind. I’d worked to archive Perry’s far-right furry connections before they were deleted, that went unremarked by mainstream news.
Ash, a furry local to the Perry story comments about the news from Portland:
Man… There’s a lot of PTSD going on for me on this. Garrett Foster’s murder where they found out the killer had a FurAffinity account… Tore shit apart in the local scene.
Perry’s violence joined a list of violent terrorist connections and other shootings from the far-right furry fringe. It’s a chain of incidents by now, and people who watch extremism could see where Ben Smith/Polybun was heading.
"There's no such thing as nazi furries", right? Here's a long list of some of their deepest ties, and there's no equivalent "alt-left" or body count. https://t.co/CGFCzVG6Up
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) February 22, 2022
Documenting this chain is important to show it’s a chain, and not just chaos or surprise. It’s also important to get ahead of suppression and “both sides” spin that lacks the context of a predictable, hate-motivated attack.
Independent investigators recognize the value of watchdogs inside the community. Their cooperation seems to work better than either kind working alone; insiders share unique knowledge, while outsiders help curate it to reduce rumor and establish truth.
Depending on developments soon, there are exclusive connections on file to the Portland shooting that may be reported here.
For now, here’s some of those investigators and watchdogs that help link up the chain.
The Portland shooter repeatedly fantasized about shooting protesters. In this Telegram exchange on the "Free Fur All 2022" channel (for racist furries who were banished from Fur Con):
"there had better be no hesitation on your part. do not be the second one to draw and fire" pic.twitter.com/k27m5rNlwF
— Chad Loder (@chadloder) February 22, 2022
As with other right-wing mass shooters, Benjamin Smith was already on the radar of community members for his violent posts. See this thread from September 2021 for example. https://t.co/mk4iWdliVB
— Chad Loder (@chadloder) February 22, 2022
Polybun wants the Proud Boys to "shoot people up" and thinks their victims would "deserve" it. Off to a nice start. Only a few messages in and no talk of furries, just political violence.
But somehow according to Cani "Leftists are the real bigots" pic.twitter.com/XrbfWUYV5F
— Dr. Jazzy Vidalia, ThD. (@JazzyVidalia) September 15, 2021
He was well known as being alt-right adjacent with ties to hate groups. He was largely ostracized from the furry community and was a known problem locally. He was banned from both of Oregon's furry conventions and other events. I've had personal dealings with him in the past
— Triss Winters (@TrissWinters) February 22, 2022
He was even in a chat where they were making jokes about giving me "range therapy". But after so many years of this I've been desensitized to people threatening to kill me.https://t.co/yQEsED6uBh
— Deo ❤🖤 (@DeoTasDevil) February 22, 2022