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Trout farm owner faces attempted murder charges

Police say Sally Lee, 57, shot rifle at brother, crowd during family 'squabble' near Vernonia
by: Courtesy photo Sally Ann Lee

An argument between brother and sister over property turned violent, police say, when a 57-year-old Vernonia woman fired a rifle at her sibling and bystanders on the woman's trout farm Aug. 20.

Sally Ann Lee was arrested and charged with four counts of attempted murder and four counts of menacing after reportedly shooting at her brother, Tom Lee, 56, and a group of witnesses.

It's a brother, sister thing,' said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson. 'Family beef is what it is.'

The incident took place around 8 p.m. on Lee's U-Catch Trout Ponds at 54658 Nehalem Hwy, five miles from Vernonia.

Tom Lee called 9-1-1 to report his sister fired her .30-30 rifle at him. When he was making that call, dispatchers say they heard two more shots in the background. Responding deputies say they found evidence of at least four shots. Witnesses say Lee shot at and around them as they ran for cover. No one was injured.

Lee allegedly fired the shots after the latest argument in an ongoing quarrel involving property uses. The two family members have adjoining land. Dickerson said another of the suspect's properties in the area was the target of community complaints this summer when Lee rented her land out to a Portland company that held a series of raves there. He said Lee believes her brother is stealing logs from her land.

Dickerson said tensions were high for Lee in the last few weeks when she learned her house was undergoing foreclosure proceedings.

The brother told police he believes his sister was intoxicated, but police did not test her for alcohol.

After a brief standoff, officers arrested Lee around 1 a.m. without a struggle.