A white Oregon man accused of fatally shooting 22-year-old Barry Washington Jr. outside of a nightclub on Sept. 19 has been arraigned and charged with second-degree murder, reports KZTV. Police arrested Ian Cranston at his home on Thursday evening before he appeared in front of a grand jury Friday morning.
According to OPB, he was indicted on six charges overall: second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault and two counts of unlawful use of a deadly weapon.
The murder of #BarryWashingtonJr is yet again the result of someone starting some shit and once they get hands put on them …they turn soft and shoot instead of just taking that ass beating …that they started ..#BlackLivesMatter
— Daryll W Hinton (@asupike) October 1, 2021
Officials say the two men did not know each other before the shooting occurred. Cranston allegedly targeted Washington for approaching his girlfriend, Allison Butler. While no bias charges have been added, District Attorney John Hummel said he’s well aware of the country’s “disgraceful history of denigrating, prosecuting and lynching black men for talking to white women” during a livestreamed press conference.
“This isn’t a judgment on Barry,” he said. “We charged the highest crime there is for this act.”
“It was an intentional act. That’s what our theory was. It wasn’t a fumbling with the gun, or an accidental discharge of the gun. It was an intentional decision by Mr. Cranston to shoot and kill Barry Washington,” Hummel added.
He went on to say that the prosecution didn’t have enough evidence to suggest a racial motive in the crime.
“I determined we did not have sufficient evidence at this point to present it to the grand jury, and that was a tactical decision made by myself,” Hummel continued. “If we presented it now, and the grand jury said, ‘No, the state doesn’t have enough evidence,’ then that case is gone. And if we gathered more evidence later, we couldn’t go back. That is an active investigation.”
“There’s a reckoning with race that needs to happen in Central Oregon, and it needs to happen now,” the district attorney added.
Both sides of the case are largely relying on video evidence, but tell two different sequences of events. Hummel says there is plenty of video evidence showing Cranston and Washington’s interactions while in the nightclub. Cranston’s attorney, Kevin Sali, is accusing the prosecution of changing the facts to influence public opinion.
“When this case goes to trial, it will provide another example of why in this country cases are decided on the basis of evidence presented in court, not press conferences by politicians,” Sali said in a written statement to OPB.
He says Cranston and Washington engaged in an altercation, in which Cranston was assaulted. He described the incident as “without provocation” and “resulting in head injuries.”
Cranston was taken by police to a hospital where he had a brain scan performed. He says the “unprovoked assault was still actively in progress when the single shot was fired.”
Cranston’s plea hearing is scheduled for Dec. 6.