A woman and man were killed in a double homicide at a Tigard apartment complex Thursday, police said, and a suspect in their deaths was arrested later in the day.
Tigard police said officers responded about noon to reports of a shooting at The Birches apartment complex, 11485 S.W. Greenburg Rd. Officers found the woman and man, who died at the scene.
“Every available officer that we had went to the scene and then detectives, of course, and the Washington County Major Crimes Team,” Tigard police spokesperson Kelsey Anderson said.
Authorities asked neighbors to stay inside their homes as they deployed a police dog to search for suspects or clues, Anderson said. Police called off the K9 track after the search went cold, however.
Around 9 p.m., Tigard police said U.S. Marshals had taken 40-year-old Ronald Terry Stephens into custody in Sandy.
Stephens was being held on two counts of first-degree murder. Investigators said the killings were not random, and Stephens was likely familiar with the slain woman and man.
Stephens has been convicted of multiple felonies in Oregon, dating back to at least 1999, including drug possession, attempted robbery and being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon, according to court documents. He was most recently arrested in late September after police attempted to pull him over in Northeast Portland. He led police on a brief chase that ended when he crashed into another vehicle, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The charges stemming from that incident — attempting to elude police and possessing a loaded firearm in public, among others — were still pending at the time of his arrest Thursday.
There have been two previous homicides in Tigard this year — a stabbing in an apartment complex and a shooting during a domestic disturbance — but Anderson said the deaths don’t signify an uptick in violence akin to that seen in Portland, which has tallied a record number of homicides in 2021.
“Four people have been killed in Tigard this year,” Anderson said. “That’s pretty unusual, but I wouldn’t draw any correlation between that and the gun violence that has been happening in Portland.”
Police have not released information about the circumstances of the double homicide. An investigation is underway.
— Jim Ryan and Zane Sparling
Kale Williams of The Oregonian/OregonLive contributed to this report.
Suspect arrested after woman, man killed in Tigard double homicide, police say