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Normandale Park shooting suspect, deceased victim identified

Police did not release the identities of the alleged shooter or the deceased victim until Tuesday, although multiple news outlets reported both names earlier.
Credit: KGW

PORTLAND, Ore. — Police have identified the suspect in a deadly mass shooting Saturday evening at Portland's Normandale Park as Benjamin Smith, 43, according to a Tuesday news release from the bureau.

Six people were shot, including Smith, and one person died, whom police also identified Tuesday morning as Brandy Knightly, 60. The Medical Examiner's Office determined her cause of death to be homicide by gunshot wound. Knightly went by the name June, according to friends.

Multiple media outlets and antifascist researchers had previously reported one or both names on Monday, but police declined to release either name until Tuesday morning.

Police were called to a report of a shooting at Normandale Park in Northeast Portland just after 8 p.m. Saturday and found one person deceased and five others injured, two men and three women.

RELATED: Mayor Ted Wheeler, law enforcement leaders give update on recent shootings in Portland

Smith remains hospitalized in serious condition as of Tuesday morning. Detectives are working with the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office to share evidence to determine potential charges against him, police said.

People at the scene removed critical evidence before officers arrived, according to the press release, and the bureau asked that anyone with evidence from the scene or video footage of the incident contact police. 

When asked at a press conference on Tuesday, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell confirmed police had video footage of the scene, but declined to elaborate about which items were suspected to have been removed or how police knew something had been removed.

The New York Times and other media reported that the shooting happened at the start of a planned protest against police killings, particularly the killing of Amir Locke by Minneapolis police while serving a no-knock warrant.

RELATED: 'She was a bright light': Friends mourn woman shot and killed in mass shooting at racial justice rally

An initial police press release described the shooting as a confrontation between an armed homeowner and armed protesters, but subsequent media stories have contradicted some of those details, reporting that Smith was a nearby resident but not a homeowner.

OPB reported that, according to family and acquaintances, Smith had expressed anger with protests in Portland and had become increasingly radicalized in recent years.

A woman who was among the injured told The New York Times that a neighbor fired at a group of people who were rerouting traffic ahead of the planned march. 

She said that the neighbor swore at them and called them "violent terrorists." OPB reported that Smith fired into the ground and hit five people. A protester returned fire, according to The New York Times and OPB.

Lovell declined to confirm whether Smith was shot by a protester, saying only that he was shot at the scene.

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