Man in fatal Beaverton road rage incident avoids murder charge
A 28-year-old Beaverton man involved in the shooting death of Salem man last month avoided a second-degree murder charge and was instead indicted on two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm by a grand jury on Monday, Oct. 4, according to the Washington County District Attorney's Office.
The grand jury declined to indict Kai Sebastian Stevenson on second-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapons charges due to a lack of evidence, officials said.
Deputies say Stevenson shot and killed 51-year-old Mark Eugene Stadamire during a Sept. 3 road rage incident near Southwest Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway and 103rd Avenue. Both men were reportedly carrying handguns.
The Washington County Major Crimes Team said they had discussions with Black community leaders concerning the racial context of the case. Stadamire was Black, and Stevenson is white.
"Through our investigation, we didn't find any evidence that race was a factor, but we were sensitive to the possibility," said WCSO spokesperson Daniel DiPietro. "We believe that everything was prompted by road rage events that led to violence."
Multiple people called 9-1-1 that day, including Stevenson, officials said. He told dispatchers that Stadamire followed him to the intersection where they were both pulled over and threatened him with a gun and a bat, prompting Stevenson to shoot Stadamire.
When Beaverton police officers arrived, they arrested Stevenson and tried to save Stadamire but he died at the scene.
One witness told officers that she saw Stadamire push Stevenson before hearing five gunshots, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Another witness said she heard two men yelling at each other and saw them pushing and punching each other, officials said. The witness also reported hearing Stadamire threatening to shoot Stevenson in the head and saw him reach for his hip. The witness then took cover and heard five gunshots, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Detectives interviewed Stevenson multiple times following the arrest, officials said. He told investigators that the road rage incident began on Interstate 5 near Interstate 205, when he used the center lane to pass Stadamire, who was in the left lane. He said he Stadamire then followed him up Interstate 5 to Highway 217, where they both exited at Southwest Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway and headed eastbound. When Stevenson turned off onto Southwest 103rd Avenue, he said Stadamire followed him onto the side street, so he pulled over, not wanting to lead Stadamire to where he was headed, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Stevenson told detectives that when they got out of their vehicles, he saw that Stadamire was holding a bat, so he drew his handgun. Stadamire then produced his own handgun.
The two men yelled at each other, and the argument became physical. At one point, Stevenson told investigators, Stadamire put his gun under Stevenson's chin, with the barrel touching his throat.
Stevenson said Stadamire backed off for a moment, but then came back toward him and shoved him in the chest with the gun, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Believing his life was in danger, Stevenson said, he then shot and killed Stadamire.
Editor's note: This version of the story was updated on Tuesday, Oct. 5 with comments from WCSO spokesperson Daniel DiPietro.
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