Family and friends demand answers after Bay Area man shot dead in Oregon – NBC Bay Area
Serious questions were asked on Saturday night about the shooting death of a young Bay Area man, who was shot and killed at a resort in central Oregon nearly a week ago.
BJ Washington, 22, spent a lot of time in a park in Benicia near where he grew up and sadly dozens of people remembered him during a vigil in that same park on Saturday.
“I am very shocked. I am incredulous. I’m always here for these stories, ”said Lawanda Robinson, Washington’s mother.
Robinson’s pain is still sharp, but she is determined to give her son a voice.
“I really want to speak on behalf of my son because I know there have been a lot of deceptive stories,” she said.
The Deschutes County, Oregon Sheriff’s Department said Washington and Ian Cranston, 27, had a fight on Sunday outside a bar when suddenly Cranston pulled out a handgun and shot Washington once, killing him.
But the Washington family said other men were arguing with him when Cranston approached and shot Washington without provocation.
Cranston had only been charged with manslaughter and was released from prison hours later, scandalizing the community.
The Washington family believed it was a possible premeditated hate crime.
“Basically he told her they could do whatever they wanted to her and kept calling her the ‘N’ word,” said Valencia, Washington’s aunt.
The vigil on Saturday night was also intended to honor the young man, whom his friends and family described as a “big teddy bear” and a gentle soul.
“BJ was my best friend. I’ve known him since first grade. He was goofy. He was funny,” Benicia’s Chevy Franklin said.
As protesters around the corner continue to demand justice, the family want Oregon State Police to investigate.