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Fatal shooting may stem from custody battle

Investigation reveals link between murder suspect and 22-year-old victim
by: Submitted photo Ryan Lee Johnson enjoyed spending time in the outdoors with his family.

A memorial service will be held Saturday for 22-year-old Ryan Lee Johnson, who was fatally shot Jan. 26 outside the Bales Thriftway in Aloha.

The service will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Life Church, 5585 S.W. 209th Ave. in Aloha. It will be followed by a reception. The community is invited to attend.

Meanwhile, Washington County Major Crimes Team detectives are continuing an investigation into Ryan Johnson's murder. Results of an autopsy reveal the 2008 Aloha High School graduate died of gunshot wounds to the head.

According to sheriff's office spokesman Sgt. David Thompson, murder suspect Jeffrey Brian Johnson, 52, was lodged in the Washington County Jail on murder and unlawful use of a weapon charges related to the homicide. The Beaverton resident pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Friday in Washington County Circuit Court.

Though the suspect and victim in this case have the same last name, they are not related. They are also not strangers, detectives said.

The suspect is the father of Ryan Johnson's ex-girlfriend and the grandfather of their 3-year-old son.

Several members of Ryan Johnson's family believe the young father was killed because he was fighting for custody of his son.

'Ryan loved his son,' said Tom Jones, Ryan's grandfather. 'His goal was to be with him, to be in his life as much as he could. The most tragic thing about this is he had a court date scheduled this Tuesday to get custody.'

'Ryan was a good kid,' added Austin Davis, Ryan's younger brother who was with him when he was killed. 'He didn't deserve this - all he wanted was his son.'

High-risk traffic stop

At about 3:18 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, Washington County sheriff's deputies and Beaverton police responded to the report of shots fired in the parking lot of the grocery store at 17675 S.W. Farmington Road.

Upon arrival, they found the victim deceased, as a result of wounds he sustained during the shooting. They also learned the shooter fled the scene in a vehicle and was traveling south toward the Bull Mountain and Sherwood communities.

Investigators are in the process of piecing together the series of events leading up to the shooting and its aftermath, which led to the swift arrest of a suspect in this case, Thompson said.

The suspect was taken into custody by authorities within a half-hour during a high-risk traffic stop near the corner of Southwest Borchers Drive and Daffodil Street in Sherwood.

Mountain View Middle School, which is across the street from the shopping center, was placed on lockout for about 20 minutes prior to the end of school. Administrators invited families - who were waiting in the front parking lot to pick up their students - into the building to get them out of harm's way.

Once authorities informed school officials that a suspect was in custody, students were released for the day. School leaders asked students and their families to avoid the shopping center parking lot, which was taped off and bustling with emergency crews and witnesses.

Detectives from the county's Major Crimes Team continued their investigation through the night and Friday, talking with witnesses and looking for anyone who might have seen the shooting.

'Because of the time of day and close proximity to Aloha High School, there were numerous people who witnessed the shooting or saw the suspect leave the scene,' Thompson said.

Sherwood police assisted with the traffic stop and arrest of Jeffrey Johnson.