An insurance agent in Portland has agreed to pay $400,000 to the estate of a homeless man the agent shot dead in an altercation.
The agent, Charlie Win Chan, has also agreed to write a letter of apology to the parents of Jason Gerald Petersen, the homeless man in question.
Chan fatally shot Petersen in the torso on February 20, 2017. The lawsuit filed against Chan originally asked for $1.1 million, but the damages sought were later increased to $15.9 million.
On the morning of the incident, Chan (then 51) found Petersen’s sleeping bag and belongings blocking the entrance of his insurance agency, Golden Key Insurance. Chan told authorities that he threw the items in a locked garbage bin next to the agency.
That afternoon on February 20, 2017, Petersen (32) entered Chan’s insurance agency and informed the agent that he had camped at the front of the business the night before. Petersen then asked for the whereabouts of his personal effects, according to Chan’s account to the police. Chan claimed that after he had informed Petersen that he had disposed of the sleeping bag and other items, the homeless man threatened to kill him and burn his business down.
Chan admitted to the police that he had shot Petersen with his .22-caliber revolver in self-defense as the homeless man attempted to assault him. The agent also claimed that he did not have enough time to warn Petersen that he was about to shoot, and that he did not intend to kill the man.
A month after the shooting, a Multnomah County grand jury found that Chan had no criminal wrongdoing.
Authorities said that Petersen had schizophrenia.
An attorney for Petersen’s estate claimed in court papers that Chan did not actually offer to open up the locked garbage bin when Petersen asked.
“Instead, Chan threatened to call the police and Petersen immediately left the building,” wrote Robert Le, attorney for Petersen’s estate. “Chan followed him outside, where there was a second verbal altercation between Petersen and Chan on the property.”
Le added that the dispute culminated in Chan drawing one of the many guns he carries on his person and shooting Petersen.
The Oregonian reported that of the $400,000 settlement, Le will receive 40% - or $160,000 – in attorney’s fees. About $58,000 will also go into the costs of pursuing the case. There was also a $48,000 lien on Petersen’s estate for Medicaid services rendered before he perished; Le hopes that he can negotiate to lower that amount.
After all payments, Petersen’s estate could receive between $134,000 and $182,000 of the settlement.