A 30-year-old man has been charged in the fatal stabbing of an entrepreneur credited for popularizing kimchi in Portland, Oregon.
Matthew Choi, 33, co-founder of Choi’s Kimchi Co., succumbed to his wounds after officers responded to the attack in his apartment in the 300 block of Southeast 12th Ave., Buckman neighborhood on Oct. 25.
Portland police described Choi’s assailant as an African American male, between 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 11 inches, with a medium build, and wearing dark clothing and a blue mask.
Allen Coe, who resides in the same apartment complex, was arrested by U.S. marshals on Wednesday after detectives identified him as the suspect.
Coe allegedly broke into Choi’s apartment after midnight, while the entrepreneur was sleeping on the couch and his girlfriend was sleeping in his bedroom.
Choi’s girlfriend, who woke up from the sound of the front door, then woke him up and called the police.
Choi arrived in time to grab Coe and stop him from allegedly stabbing his girlfriend, according to KGW.
While investigating the area, officers found a green backpack that contained two social security cards that were stolen from two other residents in the apartment complex.
A surveillance video confirmed that Coe had carried a green backpack on the night of the attack. He also spat saliva and phlegm on the ground during the investigation, which underwent DNA analysis, according to KPTV.
On Wednesday, Coe was charged with first-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon, first-degree burglary and identity theft. The Choi family expressed relief over the arrest, with hopes for “justice and peace that transcends all understanding.”
“We sincerely want to thank the Portland Police and supporting agencies for their diligent efforts in capturing this suspect. Though it will never fill the hole in our hearts and in this community, we do pray for justice and peace that transcends all understanding. We have been so moved by the love and support, please know that words cannot express how thankful we are for the memories and stories that have been shared with us,” the family said in a statement to KOIN.
They added, “We will never understand why this happened, but still believe there is good in this world and you are all examples of that. This tragedy will not define us, but instead inspire us to live to the fullest and never take each day for granted.”
Coe, who was booked into the Multnomah County Jail, pleaded not guilty to the charges. He will appear in court again on Nov. 30.
Court records show that he and Choi did not know each other. On Oct. 31 — just six days after Choi’s death — Coe was arrested for stealing a car in a Milwaukie driveway, according to OregonLive.
Coe reportedly stole the car because he wanted the police to shoot him. On Nov. 2, he was released from custody and placed on “enhanced supervision” while charges were pending.
Feature Images via GoFundMe (left) and Multnomah County Jail (right)