Cranston’s attorney files motion to release; says fatal shot was self-defense

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The attorney for a Redmond man accused in a fatal shooting outside a Bend nightclub last summer is asking for him to be released on bail, saying video evidence from “multiple cameras” shows the single gunshot was fired in self-defense after his client was attacked. 

Ian Cranston, 27, is accused of shooting to death 22-year-old Barry Washington, Jr. on the sidewalk at NW Oregon Ave. and NW Wall St. after an argument early on Sept. 19th.

In court Thursday, Cranston’s attorney, Kevin Sali, filed a motion for his client to be released until trial because the state’s case “has not met the burden necessary to justify the denial of bail.”

The 11-page motion provides new details from the night of the shooting based on videos and firsthand accounts – details the defense said weren’t disputed by prosecutors.

“On behalf of Mr. Cranston, and particularly in light of the false and inflammatory public statements made previously by the District Attorney’s office, we are immensely grateful that the events of that evening were comprehensively and accurately captured on video by multiple cameras,” Sali said in a statement to Central Oregon Daily News. “For our part, we will continue to make our case in court, where it belongs, and based on the evidence, as it should be.”

Cranston has pleaded not guilty to all six charges he faces: second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault, and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon.

The shooting of an unarmed Black man on a downtown sidewalk angered many in the community who rallied for Washington, held vigils, and demanded justice. 

Cranston was initially arrested and charged with manslaughter and was released from jail after posting 10% of a $100,000 bond.

But a few days later, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel announced a grand jury bumped up the charges and Cranston has been held in the Deschutes County Jail without bail since then.

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According to the court documents, Cranston went to the Capitol bar with his fiancee Allison Butler and their friend on the night of September 18th.

“In the time leading up to the incident with the Cranston group, he was behaving erratically and aggressively,” the document said, adding that Washington’s blood-alcohol level was later measured at 0.195%. 

Around 11:30 p.m., Washington approached three police officers and shouted profanities at them, and held up his middle finger to them, according to the motion. 

About a half-hour later when Cranston and Butler were separated, Washington approached her and “expressed an interest in her.”

“Butler, apparently flattered, smiled and told Washington she was engaged, showing him her ring,” Sali said in the motion. “Washington gave Butler a hug, which she returned, and then the two separated.”

A couple of minutes later, Washington left the bar and a couple of minutes after that, Cranston, Butler, and a friend left the building and went up the street and talked. 

Washington soon walked up to the group and again “verbally propositioned Butler, who five minutes previously had respectfully declined his initial overture and who was now standing with the fiance she had told him about,” the motion said. 

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Sali said Butler once again declined and the group asked Washington to leave them alone. 

“Washington refused this request and continued to press the issue with Butler,” Sali’s motion said. “There followed an extended period during which the group continued to ask Washington to leave them alone, and he continued to refuse.”

Then, just after midnight, “Washington suddenly and without any provocation attacked Cranston,” according to the documents.

“The 6’1”, 212-pound Washington struck the much smaller Cranston with two powerful, closed-fist blows to the head, with the second coming as Cranston was falling from the force of the first,” Sali wrote. “As a stunned Cranston managed to get back to his feet, Washington raised his arm and made a series of threatening gestures toward him.”

Sali said the blows would later be determined to have caused Cranston a head injury, facial contusion, multiple lacerations in the area of his eye, blurred vision, and bleeding within the ear.

Cranston was now holding his handgun – which the motion said he was legally allowed to carry. 

“Cranston displayed the weapon to Washington, in what the video evidence clearly indicates was an attempt to deter Washington from continuing the assault,” Sali’s motion said.

Washington continued to threaten Cranston, despite seeing the gun. 

Sali said about this time Butler pulled out her cell phone and started recording in an effort to deter Washington. 

“The video shows him grabbing and shoving Butler, with the result that the footage is briefly shaken,” Sali wrote.

At this point, a friend of Cranston stepped in and tried to push Washington away from Butler.

“Washington, still undeterred by anything the group had been doing, turned and squared toward Smith and Cranston,” the motion said. “He lunged towards Smith and punched him in the face. Then, Washington turned at and squared toward Cranston, who was standing only a few feet away with his handgun still drawn and visible. It was at this point that Cranston finally fired a single shot at Washington. The round struck Washington in his midsection, stopping the assault.”

Sali’s motion then said Cranston immediately tried to help Washington and called for help.

Police arrived a few minutes later while Cranston was trying to help Washington. 

Sali said Cranston promptly told police that he was the person who fired the gun and cooperated with authorities at the scene. 

Washington later died at the hospital.

The motion said that the evidence shows Cranston fired his gun in self-defense. 

“As set forth above, Washington committed a violent, wholly unprovoked assault against Cranston. Washington had absolutely no right or justification to do that,” Sali wrote. “And Cranston had no legal obligation to allow a large, powerful man to continue viciously striking him in the head.”

The motion said Cranston had “a clear legal right to draw his firearm in an attempt to deter his attacker. As the indisputable video evidence shows, the single shot was fired only after Washington—having clearly seen that Cranston was armed—disregarded that fact and, completely undeterred, continued his assaultive conduct.”

Cranston is scheduled to go on trial in November 2022. 

A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday on another matter, and the motion to release could also be discussed at that time.

On Monday, Hummel issued a response.

“We’ve been anticipating Mr. Cranston to file a motion requesting the court to set bail in the case,” he said. “We oppose Mr. Cranston’s release, and in court will vigorously argue that he remain in custody until his trial.”

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