The East Portland insurance agent who shot and killed a homeless Portlander last month won't be prosecuted, police announced today.
A Multnomah County grand jury decided that Charlie Win Chan, owner of Golden Key Insurance near SE 82nd and Foster, was justified in killing Jason Gerald Petersen on February 20.
Police have said Petersen, who was 32 and battling schizophrenia, was storing belongings outside of Chan's business, and became upset when the man threw them away. In details first released with today's announcement, police say that "Chan stated that Petersen threatened to kill him and burn down his business."
Petersen left, and Chan followed him outside roughly five minutes later with a gun, police say. Chan, who was licensed to carry a concealed weapon, told authorities Petersen "attacked him," so he shot the man once in the abdomen, killing him. Petersen wasn't armed. Chan called 911, police say.
As we reported earlier this month, the killing illustrates the difficult time Portland has in connecting people with mental health services. Police encountered Petersen sleeping in an alcove on SE Hawthorne weeks before his death, and opted to put him in jail. Officers could have elected to put a mental health hold on the man, potentially getting him reconnected with medication family members said had helped him in the past.
In the wake of Petersen's death, some questioned why Chan had elected to follow the man into the parking lot with a gun. As Jason Renaud, of the Mental Health Association of Portland said at the time:
“Why haven’t the police arrested this man for murder? I think it’s largely because this is a person with mental illness. I can’t think of another time when someone was shot in cold blood, who was not armed and was not committing a crime, that charges weren’t filed.”