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Suspect in Normandale Park mass shooting transferred from hospital to jail

Benjamin Smith, 43, was charged with second-degree murder for the Feb. 19 shooting death of Brandy "June" Knightly. Smith is also facing eight other counts.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The man accused of killing a woman and injuring four others last month at a racial justice rally in Northeast Portland's Normandale Park was booked into jail Wednesday after being released from the hospital. 

Benjamin Smith, 43, was charged with second-degree murder for the Feb. 19 shooting death of Brandy "June" Knightly. He's also charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault. 

His arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, March 24. 

According to a probable cause affidavit, demonstrators went to Normandale Park on Feb. 19 for a planned social justice rally and march. 

RELATED: Suspect in Normandale Park shooting charged with murder, 4 counts of attempted murder

Smith reportedly confronted demonstrators, yelling at them and demanding that they leave the area. Demonstrators responded by telling Smith to leave, at which point he told demonstrators to "make" him and approached someone aggressively. The demonstrator pushed him back while Smith continued to yell, the affidavit said, so he drew a handgun and fired into the crowd.

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers were called to Northeast 55th Avenue on a call of multiple shots fired. When officers arrived, there were people already trying to render aid to those who had been shot. Several people in the crowd pointed the officers in the direction of Smith, who had been shot in return fire in the "hip area."

The affidavit also revealed information about the victims who were shot. It states that Knightly was shot at close range in the head. A memorial for her was erected in Normandale Park after her death. Knightly was said to be a maternal figure to all who frequented racial justice rallies in Portland.

Credit: Friend of Knightly
June Knightly

Another victim was hit by a bullet in the neck and became paralyzed from the neck down. The third victim was struck by bullets in multiple places and was hospitalized. The fourth victim was hit in the upper arm and was treated at a hospital. 

Smith was hospitalized in critical condition and required surgery. 

A search of Smith's history revealed in 2010, he was charged with assault and harassment. Court documents from that prior case show Smith lived at an apartment complex half a block from the park and more than a block from where demonstrators were gathering. 

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