A neighbor was arrested on Wednesday in the October 25 stabbing death of co-founder of a popular Portland kimchi business, said the police.
Allen Coe, 30, who lives in the same apartment complex southeast of 12th Avenue where Matthew Choi was killed, was arrested Wednesday evening on suspicion of murder, burglary and other charges, according to Portland Police. He is being held at the Multnomah County Detention Center and is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday afternoon.
Choi was killed in his apartment building in the 300 block of 12th Avenue Southeast, which is in the Buckman neighborhood of Portland.
According to court records, the men did not know each other.
On October 31, six days after Choi’s murder, Coe was suspected of stealing a car that had been left idling in a driveway in Milwaukie, according to police and court records. Coe was arrested and appeared in court in Clackamas County on two felony allegations – unauthorized use of a vehicle and possession of a stolen vehicle.
He told police he stole the car because he wanted the police to shoot him, according to police and court records.
Coe was arraigned in the case on Nov. 2 and released, according to records. Court records indicate that he has been placed under “enhanced” surveillance while the charges are pending.
Court records show that he has never been convicted of criminal charges. He told court staff that he graduated from high school in Florida and then attended Lane Community College, where he obtained a certified nursing assistant license. He said he also holds a certificate in aircraft manufacturing. He told the interviewer that his only source of income was food stamps.
He told the interviewer he had lived in the apartment for eight months and moved to Portland nine months ago from Eugene.
Authorities did not release information about the circumstances of the knife attack, but a statement on a online crowdfunding page set up for Choi’s family says that “Choi’s life was taken foolishly … when a stranger broke into his apartment while he was sleeping and committed suicide.”
Choi, the 33-year-old co-founder of Choi’s Kimchi, helped evolve his mother’s kimchi recipe from a Portland Farmers Market stall to a Northwestern supermarket staple.
According to the Choi’s Kimchi website, you can now find jars of the company’s lightly spiced Napa cabbage and other fermented vegetables in more than 100 stores, from Ashland in the south to Bellingham, Wash., In the north, and also. far east than Ketchum, Idaho.
Michael Russell of The Oregonian / OregonLive contributed to this report.