Normandale Park shooter pleads guilty to killing 1, wounding 5
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - On Wednesday, Benjamin Smith, the man accused of killing one woman and injuring five others during a protest in Normandale Park in early 2022, pled guilty all nine charges he faced.
Smith, 44, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder, four counts of attempt to commit any degree of murder or aggravated murder, three counts of first-degree assault, and one count of second-degree assault, according to court documents.
On February 19, 2022 at Normandale park, a group of protesters were confronted by a man who told them to leave, then drew a pistol and opened fire, according to an affidavit filed by Deputy District Attorney Mariel Mota days after the killing.
The protest was being held against the Minneapolis police killing of Amir Locke.
Mota referred to videos taken at the scene. After several protesters told him to leave them alone and go home, Smith stated that they should “make” him leave and aggressively approached a person, who pushed Smith back. Smith responded by drawing his gun. Brandy “June” Knightly, 60, was shot in the head at close range and died at the scene. Smith injured five others and only stopped shooting when someone fired back, striking him in the hip, according to Mota.
According to Mota, one of the injured was shot in the neck and is paralyzed from the neck down. Two people were shot multiple times, one of whom was shot in the abdomen, and the fourth was shot in the arm.
Smith was severely injured and was hospitalized for several weeks. On March 24, 2022, he appeared in court for the first time and pleaded not guilty.
It was later revealed that the FBI contacted Smith in 2021 after receiving tips about him, but they ultimately abandoned their investigation.
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