- Ian Cranston is accused of fatally shooting Barry Washington Jr. outside a Bend, Oregon, nightclub on September 19.
- A grand jury indicted Cranston on six charges including second-degree murder.
- The district attorney says the shooting happened after Washington hit on Cranston’s girlfriend.
A 22-year-old Black man was shot dead outside a nightclub in Oregon last month by a white man, after hitting on the man’s girlfriend in a “respectful” manner, according to the local district attorney.
Barry Washington Jr. was fatally shot outside The Capitol nightclub in Bend, Oregon, at 12:11 a.m. on September 19, according to the Bend Bulletin.
Ian Mackenzie Cranston, 27, was arrested on September 30 after a Deschutes County grand jury indicted him on six charges connected to Washington’s killing, including second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault, and two counts of unlawful use of a deadly weapon.
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel told KTVZ that prior to the shooting, Washington had hit on Cranston’s girlfriend and Cranston was “not happy” about it.
Washington “complimented her in a respectful manner,” Hummel said. “She said, ‘No, thank you. I’m flattered but I’m in a relationship.'”
Cranston then started having “some words” with Washington, which escalated to violence, Hummel said.
“There was some pushing, some jostling, some punches thrown, but then it calmed down. It was not going to get out of hand.
“Then Mr. Cranston pulled a gun out of his waistband and shot and killed Mr. Washington,” Hummel said.
Hummel suggested that the incident could be part of a dark history of Black men being lynched for hitting on white women.
“Our country has a disgraceful history of denigrating, prosecuting, and lynching Black men for talking to white women,” Hummel told KTVZ. “Over the last week, literally hundreds of people called and emailed me to remind me of this history.”
However, Hummel told KTVZ that there were was not enough evidence to charge Hummel with a hate crime.
When asked what kind of evidence would be needed to charge Cranston with a hate crime, Hummel told Insider that “Oregon’s bias crime law requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Cranston’s decision to shoot Barry Washington was based in part on his perception of Mr. Washington’s race.”
Cranston’s attorney, Kevin Salis, told KTVZ that Washington assaulted Cranston “without provocation, resulting in head injuries that required the police to take Mr. Cranston to the hospital, where a brain scan and other procedures had to be performed.”
“Indisputable video evidence also demonstrates that, in direct contrast to the district attorney’s public statements, that unprovoked assault was still actively in progress when the single shot was fired,” Salis said.
Salis’ comments indicate that he believes his client was justified in shooting Washington, but Hummel pointed out in another interview that he doesn’t think the case clears the high bar for using a gun in self defense under Oregon law.
“You can only use deadly physical force if you or someone else is about to be killed or about to be seriously physically injured,” Hummel told Central Oregon Daily. “There is no allegation here that Mr. Washington was trying to kill anyone, or trying to seriously physically injure anyone. There are allegations that there was some pushing and shoving going on, but that does not come anywhere near the level that must be shown by someone before you can legally take a gun out and kill them.”
“If Mr. Cranston thinks that what he did was appropriate, he’s sadly mistaken.”
Cranston’s attorney did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment Wednesday morning.
There was uproar when Cranston was initially arrested on a charge of second-degree manslaughter, a charge which allowed him to post $10,000 bail to be released from jail in less than 24 hours after the shooting, according to OPB.
He was arrested again when a grand jury indicted him on more serious charges, and now is being held without bail at the Deschutes County jail.