Dad of slain Tigard HS grad: ‘He had a lot of potential’

Washington County

"We feel like at least we have justice"

TIGARD, Ore. (KOIN) — A husband and wife were sentenced to prison this week for shooting and killing a 21-year-old from Tigard in a case of mistaken identity. The couple shot the young man outside of a bar in Eugene while he was having a night out with friends.

Dan Gradin said his son, Alex, was dearly loved and is missed. He reflected back on Alex’s life, and said as hard as it has been, he actually forgives the couple who killed his son.

Alex Gradin running track in an undated photo. (Portland Tribune)

“It’s really, deeply hurt the family. It’s just starting to really sink in that it really happened—his motorcycle is still in the garage. I still go by it when I get in the car and it’s still really painful,” said Gradin.

He told KOIN 6 News that the family was in shock when they learned that Alex had been killed in May of 2019. Alex was one of two children they adopted from Kenya—he was just nine months old at the time.

“Alex spent most of his childhood with us in Nairobi, Kenya,” said Gradin.

The family moved from Kenya to Kelso, Washington in 2010, where Alex then fell in love with football. He went on to play there and in Tigard.

He was a student a Lane Community College when Regis Kindred shot him outside of Taylor’s Bar and Grill in Eugene while Alex was visiting with friends. Kailee Von Foster drove the getaway car.

“We feel like at least we have justice,” said Gradin.

Detectives said the couple was motivated by some type of gang activity that had nothing to do with Alex—they mistook him for someone else. Kindred pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison. Von Foster was sentenced to over six years for her role in Alex’s murder.

Dan Gradin, Alex’s father, speaks about the loss of his son. February 23, 2020 (KOIN)

“We are heartbroken for the bad decisions that they made, and we forgive them, but we are also glad they are serving their sentence,” said Gradin.

Alex had dreams of working hard so he could go back to Kenya to help the underserved. Gradin said one day, he’d like to find Alex’s biological family and tell them about the wonderful son they never knew they had.

“He was a kid who had a lot of potential. He understood how to live and move around in American and he also understood how to live and move in Africa, so he had the potential to be a bridge between American and African culture,” said Gradin.

According to Gradin, Alex had a lot of extended family and friends and kept in touch with other children that had been in the same orphanage in Kenya. He said Alex’s death has impacted people all over the world.

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