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Family, friends demand answers at Bay Area vigil for downtown Bend shooting victim

A vigil for Barry 'BJ' Washington Jr. was held Saturday evening in Benicia, Calif.
NBC Bay Area
A vigil for Barry 'BJ' Washington Jr. was held Saturday evening in Benicia, Calif.

(Update: Comment by DA John Hummel)

BJ Washington's family says 'N-word' was used; they want OSP to take over investigation

BENICIA, Calif. (KTVZ) -- Serious questions were asked Saturday night about the shooting death of a young Bay Area man who was gunned down in on a downtown Bend street a week ago.

22-year-old Barry "BJ" Washington Jr. spent a lot of time in a Benicia park not far from where he grew up.

Sadly, dozens of people remembered him at a vigil at that same park Saturday, NBC Bay Area reported.

“I am very shocked. I am in disbelief. I always hear about these stories,” said Lawanda Robinson, Washington’s mother.

Robinson’s pain was still raw during the vigil but she told NBC Bay Area that she is determined to give her son a voice.

“I really want to speak for my son because I know there have been a lot of misleading stories out there,” she said.

Authorities in Oregon said Washington and 27-year-old Ian Cranston got into a fist fight early last Sunday outside a bar. Officials added that Cranston then pulled a handgun and shot Washington one time, killing him.

But Washington’s family said other men were arguing with him when Cranston walked up and shot Washington unprovoked.

Cranston was initially charged with second-degree manslaughter and was freed from jail on bail hours later, outraging many in the community.

Washington’s family believes it’s a possible premeditated hate crime.

“Basically, he told him that they can do to him whatever they wanted to do and kept calling him the 'N' word,” said Valencia, Washington’s aunt.

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel told NewsChannel 21 on Sunday, "The investigation continues and we are on track to have a charging decision by Mr. Cranston's first hearing," scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 5.

Saturday's vigil was also about honoring Washington, who his friends and family described him as a “big teddy bear” and a gentle soul.

“BJ was my best friend. I’ve known him since the first grade. He was goofy. He was funny,” said Chevy Franklin of Benicia.

As demonstrators in Bend, continued to call for justice, the family said they want the Oregon State Police to take over the investigation.

KTVZ news sources

Comments

80 Comments

  1. “Cranston had only been charged with second-degree manslaughter and walked out of jail hours later, outraging the many in the community.” The guy was given a bail, which he had to pay ($10 grand). Stop making it out like they wrote him a parking ticket and let him go about his day. Those who think he should have been jailed without bail are living in a fairy tale.

            1. That does happen quite often. Soo, yes, you can imagine it. But not likely that was the scenario here. What I don’t agree with is BLM stepping in and making this about the color of his skin. This man was not killed because he had a brown skin tone. This happened because one didn’t agree with the other making a pass at his girlfriend and a fight broke out between them and one young man lost his like senselessly and tragically. But the race baiters want to make it about race. I think it’s shameful that the Marxist group Black Lives Matter would even put a Black Lives Matter sign at this memorial with other similar signs near it. This was a tragic loss of life but race had nothing to do with it.

              1. As to what really happened…..who knows. A trial (in court, not by the media) will come the closest to telling us what really went down. We all make up narratives in our own heads as to how this happened. We form these narratives based on our own experiences coupled with what we have heard, and what we can see. These narratives may be dead on, or wildly inaccurate. That’s why we have a trial. It may have been a racial murder. It may have been self defense. No one commenting on here knows.

          1. Kidding right? If someone is charging at you unprovoked with the intent to harm you, you have every right under the law to pull a concealed weapon(if you have a valid permit) and stop them. If you feel like your life is in danger and they are intent at doing physical harm the law is crystal clear, as it should be.

  2. I am very sorry for the loss of BJ Washington, Jr. I am at a loss for words when it comes to humans who commit hate crimes. My prayers for the family and friends of BJ.

    1. What is it that makes you say this was a hate crime? This was just a jealousy crime. The suspect didn’t like the other hitting on his girlfriend. Where does this story say that Cranston shot Washington because of his skin tone? You are the one making this about race. You are a race baiter if you take it upon yourself to make this about race. Stop the division between races. It’s people like you that create the divide

    1. No one is “unarmed”. Do you know what individuals are capable of with their own hands? Let’s not jump to conclusions before a proper investigation is done. If BJ came at him with the intent to harm he has every right to defend himself under the law.

    2. It will be up to the grand jury and then the jury to decide. Thank God we don’t live in a mob justice society. It is very difficult to justify shooting an unarmed person but it’s not without example. Just think of the Zimmerman case where his head was smashed into the concrete. Similarly here, if he can somehow prove that he was repeatedly punched in the head that can justify a similar response as it can be considered deadly force.

      1. That is not required if you have an understanding of the law. In no way do you have to wait until harm is being done to you in order to pull a weapon. That would be way to late in most cases.

    3. Just so I understand, the OP can call the suspect a clown and I can’t address this comment with the words used by the OP? The OP can call for murder charges not knowing all the facts but I can’t ask for more information to make an educated comment? Just trying to understand the moving goal posts…

      1. I am done debating moderation decisions here. You are making false claims, if all you did was use a very mild label about an arrested person your comment would be allowed. You went way beyond that of course.
        I used to allow personal attacks on me. I don’t any more. I deserve, EVERYONE here deserves to be treated civilly and with respect, to the maximum practical.
        You accused us of bias, half-baked reporting, etc. etc. You didn’t just “ask for more information.” Big difference.
        I am not a robot. I make the best judgment calls I can. Feel free to take these issues up with others at the station in the ways available to all on the Contact Us page under the ‘About Us” tab.

              1. If this issue had not already been raised regarding the level of charges, it might be a different call. But the DA has discussed it with various media as he prepares to take the case to the grand jury.
                People call the governor/president/etc. a murderer in comments all the time. Shall I delete all those as well? After all, they are “unsubstantiated criminal allegations,” a TOS violation – and they face no criminal charges at all, unlike this suspect.
                Again, your continued claim that we are “creating a narrative” reminds me of those who accuse us of an “agenda” – usually by people promoting an agenda of their own.
                And to claim the public must “know all the facts” before people can share an opinion on what level of charges should be made… isn’t very realistic.

        1. Barney…I support your new policies. I may not agree with you frequently, but you shouldn’t have to bear the burden of constantly defending yourself against personal attacks, and irrational commenters. I also realize that the alternative is someday you just throwing up your hands, and discontinuing commenting, as many (most) media have done.

  3. Initial investigation resulted in 2nd Degree Manslaughter charge.

    $100K bail – you need only post 10% to bail out = $10K.

    Jail has 13-15 COVID infected inmates. If someone can be released they will be.

    Suspect appears to have past conviction, drug related, over six years ago. Whether MISD or felony not yet clarified.

    Also not clarified is whether CCL was reviewed / reissued by DCSO or of the suspect obtained in previous County of residence but did not transfer, as required to.

    To upgrade from Manslaughter to Murder 1, per the law, the case has to go before the Grand Jury.

    This has been scheduled.

    COBLA has formal connection with FBI SAC PORTLAND. FBI is responsible for determining if hate crime under federal law, and then investigating if determined by evidence it was.

    1. Suspect has NO past criminal convictions. Oregon law allows someone to use deadly force if they feel their life is in danger. It could go to a murder charge or it could get dismissed altogether. We will see what the Grand Jury does. Grand Jurys more often than not go with the DAs recommendations and we heard how he felt about this case.

      1. I would not put too much stock in Hummel’s initial opinion. He has frequently spouted off about a case just after it happened, and later drastically changed his view. That is one of the reasons that his high visibility cases have gotten so controversial.

    2. Easy there CardiacSpike. Facts and legal procedures are of little interest to the armchair judges calling for example to be made. Y’all remember this; https://ktvz.com/news/2018/06/05/redmond-man-arraigned-in-bend-road-rage-incident/
      Remember the comments and rush to judgment? Remember how it turned out? There’s a justice system for a reason. Put down the pitch forks and torches. Yes a gun was involved, this polorizes sides. The fact they differed in race does so further. The fact someone died makes it that much more egregious. But unless you saw it and have something to tell the police stop with the conjecture and let the system work.

  4. I’m simply asking difficult questions of Barney and KTVZ. If you don’t like people calling you out for the biased half reporting then shut your comments section down!

    1. Feel free to point out any specific inaccuracies or so-called “biased half reporting.” If civil in tone and not a personal attack, I might be able to allow it and respond.
      If deemed offensive, I won’t. Sorry, but we’re still at 135,000 comments approved and about 2,600 not in nearly 2 years. The notion that I only allow comments I agree with is proven false every single day. (Speaking in general, of course.) We are simply trying to better enforce the Terms of Service all agree to, and personal attacks deemed offensive will no longer be allowed. Differences of opinion? Of course. Some judgment calls are tougher than others. I’ve really regretted having to delete comments that are mostly about the facts and issues, making great points, but cannot resist also throwing in offensive personal attacks.

          1. I did not mention you personally. I am questioning the reporting and the comments you allow. The fact is KTVZ can’t handle the tough questions and is selectively reporting which is gas lighting this community. I want the full story to be reported and KTVZ is tip toeing the line.

            1. We have reported every aspect of this crime made publicly available by authorities at this point, and will continue to do so. We also talked to friends and family members. Questions beyond that on what you believe we should/should not have reported or done need to be addressed privately by email, as I previously mentioned. They won’t be debated here, at least not to the degree you are attempting.

            1. If we aren’t going to allow comments on such a “hot topic”/very serious crime, with close scrutiny regarding TOS violations, why have a comment system at all? And people calling for shutting down the comment system IN the comment system is ironic, at the very least.

              1. My argument is that KTVZ is blocking many of my comments because I’m asking pointed tough questions yet allowing comments demanding the suspect be charged with murder. That is feeding into a narrative. It’s ok to say the suspect is a murderer without knowing the facts but it’s not ok to ask for facts.

                1. People are allowed to express their opinions on what someone thinks a person already arrested in a crime should be charged with, if they don’t violate TOS (unsubstantiated criminal allegations, etc) You and others don’t see the comments we don’t allow. “Feeding into a narrative” is your judgment call.
                  Asking us respectfully and civilly to try to learn more information is completely different than claiming we know things we’re withholding, or asking us to go into details regarding coverage decisions. That can become very problematic. We are in a competitive business, and not about to get into great details publicly about our coverage decisions. Feel free to ask the same of other outlets who have this point covered the crime in similar fashion, though without a place for the public to express their views (if done civilly).
                  Don’t expect this dialogue to continue in a public forum. It’s not “censorship,” it’s logical.

    2. I didn’t allow your detailed comment questioning the moderator’s decision and the station’s coverage of this crime, which is quite similar to other area media outlets. Of course we’ve reported the investigation is ongoing. As for always including “innocent until proven guilty,” that is a given and not something we will repeat in every article about a crime.
      Feel free to share your concerns in a private email to stories@ktvz.com also read by my superiors.
      Our main TOS focus re: “offensive personal attacks” is about such attacks on other commenters. People trash elected officials every day here. If we eliminate ALL personal attacks, the comment system is good as gone, which many seem to want anyway.

      1. Again…it’s ok for someone to attack an elected official but not ok for someone to call them out? Either don’t allow personal attacks or allow them all. When you only allow some that creates a narrative.

  5. People for goodness sake, stop trying to be attorneys and judges and pretending you know every law and situation. Y’all are the same people who became doctors too I bet over the last 19 months when Covid came on scene. Let the investigators and the law take its course. Then and only then will the truth come out, the facts will be heard and the Judge will make the decision along with the Jury. Relax and go to sleep. Focus on something you actually have control over.

    1. Well let’s look at a couple basics here. The shooting victim in Prineville fortunately was not killed and at last report was in fair condition in the hospital.
      The charge is assault, a lesser charge than manslaughter (obviously).
      On that crime, as well as this one, we have provided all the information released by police to this point.
      As for why readers/viewers don’t have equal interest in various stories (crime or other topics, similar or dissimilar), or urge us to do more coverage (you have been doing that in the Bend case, right?) — you’d have to ask them.

  6. Any loss of any kind is tragic and my condolences to the family and friends of BJ.

    Seems to be a bit on confusion in the article, he came at him and shot him unprovoked yet he had a black eye. Was it someone else that gave him a black eye? Reading the story that is the way it seems?

  7. There’s a reason for the adage “better tried by twelve than carried by six.”
    .
    Me? I’ll wait for all the facts to come out at trial (yes, I’m assuming Cranston gets indicted) and see who was at fault. Still, the whole thing sucks: a shooting, a death, the race card, and the politicizing by the various parties.
    .
    Broken record: guns and bars are a bad mix.

  8. Barney, thank you for your time and replying to my comments. I feel strongly about this case because I feel it’s vital that this doesn’t become purely about race. It’s important that KTVZ encourages it’s readers to hold judgment until all the facts come to light. That includes people on this comment board demanding murder charges. If it is in fact murder he should be sentenced appropriately. Keep in mind jurors will come from this community. I strongly suggest no comments be allowed that create a biased judgment in the interest of a fair and just trial.

    1. You’re welcome. But that is not our role – to ‘encourage readers to hold judgment.’ You are entitled to your opinions on where we should draw the line on what comments we should/should not allow. Some are making similar claims about the DA’s statements to this point.

      1. Seems like the case is getting traction nationally. Hopefully doesn’t lead to demonstrations downtown like what Portland has dealt with. Do wish Barry’s family can recuperate from this tragedy.

  9. The local brain trust needs to stop making assumptions and using them as their “facts” If you don’t like the way the news is presented to you then move along and stop this excessive complaining. I would trust Z21 on facts over the “experts” that have way to much free time here any day. Bye!

    1. It does not. The defendant has visible injuries on his mug shot. Not condemning or condoning his actions but I don’t think anybody has enough information to call is an open and shut case.

  10. DA Hummel simply cannot stop himself from commenting in public about things DAs – competent DAs – simply don’t comment on.

    He’s essentially trying the case in the public venue where Grand Jury members, as well as potential jurors, can be biased by his observations. And that sets up Change of Venue challenges for the suspect as well as grounds for an appeal if found guilty of any charge.

    Pandering / grandstanding is what his “fluff” commentary is.

    As for Oregon’s Use of Deadly Force this is the law –

    ORS 161.219
    Limitations on use of deadly physical force in defense of a person
    TEXT

    ANNOTATIONS 14

    Notwithstanding the provisions of ORS 161.209 (Use of physical force in defense of a person), a person is not justified in using deadly physical force upon another person unless the person reasonably believes that the other person is:
    (1)Committing or attempting to commit a felony involving the use or threatened imminent use of physical force against a person; or
    (2)Committing or attempting to commit a burglary in a dwelling; or
    (3)Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force against a person. [1971 c.743 §23]

    The key is the phrase “…the person reasonable believes that the other person is…”. That is for a jury to decide upon hearing the case – not for a DA to postulate on for the local media.

    In addition, Mr. Hummel is not a Drug and Alcohol trained and certified expert so his pontificating as to what degree of ETOH present – not to mention any other drugs, prescribed or illegal being present (if tested for) – is absurd. A .08 BAC is legally too drunk to be driving (or riding a bicycle). It stands to reason if the suspect had a .08 BAC level at the time of the incident…he was too drunk to be carrying, much less using a firearm for any reason.

    In addition, the DA offered early on the suspect has no criminal record. However, a basic public records check shows a conviction for possession / sale of a Schedule 1 drug (MDMA) about six years ago now in Benton County. If the DA can’t get that one right…

    It would truly service Justice well if DA Hummel would please zip it. His two deputy DAs are the experienced homicide lawyers anyhow – and one of them will likely try the case unless a plea deal is reached.

    Just say’in.

    1. The DA has not from what I’ve seen commented on the suspect’s criminal record or lack thereof – media immediately looked it up of course and found none, reported such. What kind of conviction would not show in Oregon’s court system now? Was it expunged? I don’t know, but it is not in his court record (2 misdemeanor violations from 2013 for MIP and not paying a fare are all that is there.)

  11. Honest question CardiacSpike, and not to say it’s not tremendously dumb to do but, is there any law against carry or use of a firearm with a given BAC? I don’t believe there is. This is one of a host of honest contentions I have with gun rights. I am a staunch supporter of the 2nd amendment. However, where is the line drawn? A 16 year old gets a driver’s license and can run anything from a smart car to a deuce and a half. I’d call this similarly irresponsible. I’m a pilot, criteria for even a private certification is lengthy and expensive. It involves a lot of training and if you want to work through the ranks of commercial, IFR, CFI, multi engine, complex, high performance, etc, etc, etc… It takes proving your ability. Juxtapose that to turning 18, you can buy a semi auto equivalent to our militaries M4, and by 21, any type of handgun legally allowed. The big picture says more people are killed by blunt force objects than rifles, far more people die in car accidents than guns of any type combined. Restrictions are in place to restrict the “really scary” guns from being readily available. As much as it pains me to ask: has humanity hit a point where our right to self preservation requires supervision? Growing up I learned to respect firearms and the responsibility that came with thier use. I consider mine to be a final line of defense against chaos, but strive to exist in a civil society. My problem is; I can say what criteria should be implemented to help curb mindless gun violence; but, I can say the same about negligent car accidents. Who can be trusted to “regulate” these matters? End of the day, the 2nd amendment was instituted in defense of a tyrannical government, I’m not gonna entrust it to them. In summary: I have my guns and am going to keep them. I feel some have guns that shouldn’t. The government sets criteria for rights or privileges concerning the common good, I feel they fail at most levels. Our primary obligation as humans is that of self preservation, all the aforementioned entities feel that thier way is best for securing that. So have we sunk to the point that individual liberty must be abandoned in defense of the whole? And further, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who will guard the guards?) I don’t know the answers to these, I don’t live in some utopia where we all just get along. I feel government is the wrong answer. And, if we as humans don’t learn to settle outside of violence, or provocation, we’ll never live in a world without need of personal defense. If you have a proposition I’d love to hear it. The question has vexed humanity for a long time.

  12. Just like everyone else commenting here, I do not know what actually happened that night. So those who are openly calling someone a murderer without knowing all the facts are indeed prejudiced as they are prejudging someone without know all the facts about that person or the situation. Ask yourself this to determine if you are indeed prejudiced. If the person who was shot was white instead of black would you feel the same way and have the same interest in the case? As for me, I do not like going to bars. If you do then good for you. I have seen far too many unpredictable people and fights over nothing due to alcohol in excess. I am sure the suspect wishes he had just stayed home and had some drinks with friends. That is what I do and it never leads to problems. Also, remember that good people come in all skin colors and so do total jerks.

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