Portland protest suspect ID’d as May homicide victim

Crime

Joseph Robert Sipe was 24

Gresham Police arrested Joseph Robert Sipe Oct. 27, 2020 on a warrant (Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The man who was killed at a transient camp in Northeast Portland in late May was publicly identified Friday by Portland police.

Joseph Robert Sipe died from blunt and sharp force trauma in the attack on May 25. His body was found when police were called to the camp at NE 78th Avenue and Schuyler Street.

Sipe was 24.

Aaron David Christopher, May 28, 2021 (Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)

Aaron David Christopher, 40, was stopped a short while later in the 6500 block of Northeast Halsey Street and faces charges of second-degree murder and abuse of a corpse, records show.

Christopher, who had a listed address in Oregon City in recent years, was convicted of first-degree burglary in January, 2018, and had 17 felony convictions on his record, including for failing to register as a sex offender, per court documents.

Arrested in Molotov cocktail incident

Last October, Sipe was arrested for allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail during a downtown Portland protest in September 2020. There was a warrant out for his arrest after he failed to appear in court earlier that month.

Joseph Sipe, 23, is accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at police officers during a September 2020 protest (Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)

He allegedly admitted to lighting a Molotov cocktail and throwing it behind a line of police officers on September 23 in downtown Portland, according to court documents.

Officers originally arrested Sipe on charges that included attempted murder, attempted first-degree assault, and arson. However, the more serious charges were dropped and he only faced one count of riot and one count of possession of a destructive device.

Court papers at that time identified Sipe as a homeless former Marine with schizophrenia and an arrest warrant in Georgia for aggravated assault. He posted bail on September 29, then failed to appear for an October 2 court date, according to authorities, resulting in a warrant being issued for his arrest.

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