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.
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