Grand jury says Aloha man shot perp in self defense

A Washington County Grand Jury last week indicted a Beaverton man on charges relating to an Oct. 2 armed robbery in which his accomplice was shot and killed by the Aloha man the two suspects were pursuing.

The grand jury on Dec. 5 charged Steven Rhee, 40, of Beaverton, with felony attempted robbery, among other charges, for his part in the Southwest Rosa Road incident that culminated with Galen Griffin, 41, of Aloha, fatally shooting Forest Alig in self defense, said Sgt. Bob Ray, a Washington County Sheriff’s Office spokesman. by: WASHINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE - Steven Rhee

Ray called the investigation, completed by Washington County Violent Crimes Unit detectives, “very complicated.”

Investigators said Alig and Rhee were following Griffin and waiting for an opportunity to rob him of his backpack. The pair followed Griffin for more than 10 blocks through the neighborhood on Rosa Road close to Southwest 183rd Avenue. Griffin continuously changed direction and concealed himself in an attempt to avoid a confrontation with Alig and Rhee, who split up when they lost sight of Griffin. Communicating by cellphone, the suspects, who investigators said were carrying knives, eventually reconvened in an attempt to make contact with Griffin.

Griffin called the sheriff’s office to report he was being followed, but Alig and Rhee confronted him before deputies arrived. Griffin warned Alig repeatedly to get away from him and to leave him alone. Alig reportedly ignored the warnings and continued the confrontation. Griffin shot his handgun once in Alig’s direction, but the perpetrator continued to advance. He discharged his handgun a second time toward Alig before running away down Southwest Rosa Road in the opposite direction, Ray reported.

Deputies arrived and contacted Griffin, who was cooperative with investigators. They found Alig deceased on the side of Southwest Rosa Road with one gunshot wound in his chest. Deputies contacted Rhee a short distance away and interviewed him.

Investigators found two knives on the side of Rosa Road near where the incident occurred. Through DNA testing, the Washington County Crime Lab connected the knives to Rhee. Investigators believe Alig and Rhee both had possession of the knives during the incident, Ray said.

The Washington County District Attorney’s Office presented the case to the grand jury on Dec. 5, indicting Rhee and charging him with first- and second-degree attempted robbery, unlawful use of a weapon and distributing/possessing a controlled substance — methamphetamine. Rhee is currently lodged in the Washington County Jail on charges of unauthorized entry to a motor vehicle and violating his parole on previous incidents. The additional charges were added.

No charges were filed against Griffin, who the grand jury determined was in fear of serious imminent physical harm from Alig. Oregon state law allows a citizen to use force, including deadly force, to reasonably defend one’s self from imminent physical harm.

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