(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.