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Benjamin Jeffrey Smith, Fringe Furry and Machinist, Identified as Suspect in Portland Mass Shooting


Benjamin Jeffrey Smith, Fringe Furry and Machinist, Identified as Suspect in Portland Mass Shooting

An Oregon machinist with an ugly history of right-wing anger and harassment has been identified as the man who allegedly opened fire near a protest over the weekend in Portland, Oregon, leaving one woman dead and several others injured.

Portland police formally named Benjamin Jeffrey Smith as a suspect in the mass shooting, which killed 60-year-old June Knightly, a volunteer with a traffic crew for the protest, and critically injured at least two others. In news release Tuesday, police said Smith remained hospitalized in serious condition and that detectives were working with the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office to determine potential charges.

Smith’s roommate Kristine Christenson told The Oregonian that Smith had appeared on Reddit under the username “Polybun.” That account made anti-Semitic comments and praised Kyle Rittenhouse, the white teenager who fatally shot two men and wounded another during a racial justice protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 2020.

Rittenhouse, of course, got off with no prison time after a jury acquitted him of murder in November.

“He has been getting more and more radicalized as the years went by,” Christenson told the paper. “He went from ‘FU police’ to ‘Blue Lives Matter’ in the last year.”

A review of a trail of social-media posts by The Daily Beast showed accounts with that name on Reddit, Youtube, and various online forums that were linked by an interest in classic cars, furry culture, the group MC Virgins, and the annual Burning Man festival. The Redditor using that account participated in r/Portland discussions and mentioned a childhood in rural Indiana, matching Smith’s own life trajectory, according to public records.

Records also show that Smith faced assault and harassment charges in August 2010. While the assault charge was later dismissed, he was ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim and to submit to anger counseling, court documents show.

Christenson, who lived with Smith for seven years before the incident, told The Oregonian that Smith “made me uncomfortable,” and that he kept at least four guns in his room.

She said…

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