Update on mass shooting at Normandale Park

Content warning: This article discusses a mass shooting resulting in a death and injuries. Take care of yourself, especially if this material is triggering for you. Graphic videos and photos are not included in this article, but many of the links included may also link to such materials.

Details about the mass shooting at Normandale Park on Saturday evening continue to emerge. Benjamin Smith has been identified as the shooter who killed June Knightly and wounded four others.

Smith seemingly targeted people he thought would be unable to defend themselves — a small group of unarmed women. Knight was older and carried a cane. Furthermore, the main body of protesters more than a block away. The group of traffic safety volunteers were preparing to manage traffic when the JFPK march reached their location, but were in the early stages of set up.

Another protester heard the attack and calls for help. He was able to reach the group and stop Smith’s attack by returning fire.

Smith stopped shooting only when he was shot in the hip. Smith remains hospitalized.

Of the four survivors of the attack, two were treated and released from medical care. Two remain in the hospital, one of whom is now paralyzed from the neck down. In addition to injuries suffered at Smith’s hands, Andy Ngo has doxed the victims. They’re now receiving death threats on social media. At least one of the victims was previously doxed by Ngo during the George Floyd Uprising.

Smith is a long-time follower of Ngo’s. It is unclear if Smith learned about Saturday’s protest from Ngo. However, Ngo posted about the event repeatedly. Ngo has also targeted past JFPK events in his social media posts and continues to spread misinformation about what happened at Normandale Park.

Key context: community action

Community action is the key to understanding what happened the evening of February 19 — and to understanding why Smith didn’t manage to do more harm.

In comparison, PPB and other governmental organizations did little to prevent the mass shooting and continue to do little to address its consequences. Similarly, social media platforms continue to enable abuse by Ngo, Smith, and others like them.

Community care efforts continue

Multiple community efforts to cover costs of care and other needs for those injured in the attack are under way. While I previously recommended a GoFundMe campaign, there are some concerns about relying on that campaign (including a coordinated effort to report the campaign by supporters of Smith and Ngo). At this time, I’d recommend supporting the efforts below first, and then supporting the GoFundMe if you have additional resources you want to contribute.

Community members are also maintaining a vigil at Normandale Park. If you’re in Portland, consider spending some time at the vigil site.

Letha Winston, who organizes JFPK protests to call for justice for her son, Patrick Kimmons, is organizing a march for this coming Saturday in honor of Kimmons (killed by Portland police officers in 2018), Amir Locke (killed by Minneapolis police at the beginning of this month) and Daunte Wright (killed by Minneapolis police in 2020).

By Thursday Bram

Thursday Bram founded PDX.Vote after making numerous zines, newsletters, and other media about politics in Portland, Oregon. Thursday has also written for publications ranging from Autostraddle.com to Entrepreneur Magazine. You can find more of Thursday's work at ThursdayBram.com.

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