He was shot dead in a city that OPB describes as “where over 90% of residents are white and gun violence in the inner city is rare.”
An Oregon man was arrested Thursday after a grand jury indicted him on six charges in the death of a 22-year-old Barry Washington Jr. outside a nightclub.
Ian MacKenzie Cranston, 27, has been charged with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault and two counts of unlawful use of a deadly weapon.
The deadly shooting occurred on Sept. 19 in downtown Bend, a city the Oregon Public Broadcasting describes as “where over 90% of residents are white and gun violence in the downtown area is rare.”
According to a local reportWashington approached and complimented Cranston’s girlfriend. The encounter turned into a scuffle involving several people, the Deschutes County District Attorney said Jan Hummel. Before the fatal shots were fired, there was pushing and hitting.
Prosecutors said that after the fighting ended, all there was to yell at, after which Cranston pulled a gun from his waistband and shot Washington. Hummel made it clear that there was “no justification” for his use of the weapon.
“The question I have to decide is whether Cranston’s decision to fire was motivated in part by… [Washington’s] race,” he said. “Ultimately, it comes down to what his motivation was at the time he committed the crime.”
Cranston has not been charged with hate crimes.
The Bend community was first outraged when Cranston was initially charged with a single charge of second-degree manslaughter. Less than 24 hours later, he was released after paying bail. However, the new charges have put Cranston back behind bars, this time on a no-bail warrant at the Deschutes County Jail.
“Our country has a disgraceful history of denigrating, persecuting and lynching black men for talking to white women. Literally hundreds of people have called and emailed me in the past week to remind me of this history,” Hummel said at a press conference. ON B. “There is a reckoning with race that has to take place in Central Oregon, and it has to happen now.”
Bend is over 90% white and Washington was black. Since his death, his family, friends and supporters have attended several vigils to draw attention to his cause.
Washington’s friend and roommate, Max Petersen, encouraged him to move to Bend from the Bay Area: “He was a nerd, there’s no other way to say it,” he said of his late friend. “He liked to play Pokémon. He played Nintendo every day.’
“I told him it would be a safe environment here,” Peterson claimed. “But that was clearly a lie.”
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