The bizarre case of Erik J Graeff
Fights, Gunshots and Meth labs.
Erik by all accounts, was on paper, an upstanding citizen. Erik lived in Vancouver,
Washington who at the time was a practicing lawyer, licensed in 2 states. He has a loving, supportive family behind him and a regular group of friends.
He had attended and graduated Western State University College of Law in California, with honors, ranked 4th in his class.
Previously he'd gained qualifications as an electrician and worked in this job for several years.
He served in the Marine Corps and was also a self published author of a law based book called "Cover Yours".
Erik was doing well, by 2014 he had his own legal office in Oregon and had set up business for himself.
But this would all change on the 21 of December 2017.
A frustrated Erik Graeff made his way to Millikan Way to the offices of another attorney, Terrence Hogan whom he had recently worked with.
Earlier that day Terrence had called Erik and left him a voicemail expressing his concerns with Eriks recent handling of a case.
Initially flippant, Erik replies with an email to Terrence at 3:40 p.m. The email contains a "belittling the message and attached a picture of a cat playing a violin" - 28/02/2018 Oregonlive.
Shortly after Terrence replies with a follow up email telling Erik he can "explain his conduct to the state bars in Oregon and Washington"
Erik replies to this stating to Terrence he thinks it's a good idea, he has no concerns "that he'd be waiting and he's tougher than Hogan and both state bars"- 28/02/2018 Oregonlive. Finding this somewhat childish Terrence replies to this at 4.35pm "You know where I am tough guy" - Feb 28, 2018 Oregonlive
It is at this point Erik starts to feel angered by Terrence he replies to Hogans email at 4.38pm explaining if traffic wasn't so bad he would be there already to show him.
Angered at the audacity of Terrence, how dare he try to call him out on the way he was handling cases and then try to get smarmy on emails. Who does this guy think he is Erik thought he'd teach him a lesson.
It was just before 7pm Erik arrived at the Scott S. Kang P.C. personal injury attorneys office where Terrence worked. Erik proceeded to go into the office building and fire shots directly at the office of Terrence Hogan. Some of the bullets almost hit others working in the building that evening. Erik then fled the scene.
At about 7pm an employee at the offices called 911 to report the gunfire, around the same time a witness also called in reporting hearing roughly 5 gunshots coming from the building. The police arrived and took statements but Erik was nowhere to be seen.
The next day (22 dec 2017) Terrence received an email from Erik with what seemed to be an apology of sorts. Along with accusations claiming that the Washington case went badly because of Hogan's malpractice not Graeff's. According to the court affidavit it said Eric wrote he was "sorry for losing his temper, he did the best he could on the Washington case" . . . "With that off my chest merry Christmas buddy. Don't suck too many reindeer d*** over the holiday." - Erik Graeff 22/12/2017 Terrence handed these emails to the police the same day.
This wasn't the first time Erik had been in the spotlight for sudden aggressive outbursts or unprofessional behaviour. At the time he carried out this shooting he was being investigated by the Bar of California for an incident that happened during August 2017. It was alleged, Erik had assaulted a former client and shoved them against a wall.
Another previous client of his had also tried to alert authorities to Eriks aggressive behaviour in the hope that something would be done. Feeling disheartened she publicly commented "he threatened to shoot at us in writing and punch my husband in the goddamn face. We immediately reported him to the bar and the Portland police, they did nothing" 2018 (Un-named) This happened three to four weeks before Erik fired shots at Hogans office.
After issuing warrants for Eriks arrest the police managed to find and detain him, they recovered two guns plus ammunition. He was booked into Washington County jail to await his sentencing. He was charged with 1 count of recklessly endangering another person and 1 count of unlawful use of a weapon. Erik pled guilty to these charges.
Upon further investigation of Eriks home Law Enforcement found that he had been making and possibly manufacturing MDMA. In his home they found evidence of a meth lab, they seized glass jars which tested positive for methamphetamine. Evidence included boxes of pseudoephedrine a substance used in the production of MDMA. There were also documents on his computer with instructions on how to produce the drugs which supported evidence of production.
1 count of attempted manufacture of a controlled substance - Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) was added to Eriks charges. Erik also pleaded guilty to this charge.
Upon sentencing Erik was charged with 1 count of recklessly endangering another person and 1 count of attempted manufacture of a controlled substance. The charge for unlawful use of a weapon was dropped. He was sentenced to 1.5 years jail time along with two years of supervised release. He was ordered not to contact any of his victims again and made to pay $1900 in costs.
He was subsequently disbarred from practicing law, effective 10/07/2019, by order of the Washington Supreme Court. His other law licenses are under review.
Eriks erratic behaviour can be deemed abnormal, his outbursts seem out of the ordinary to those that know him. On record it seems as though his issues began in early 2017. He was on record assaulting past and current clients. Making threats towards others in writing and in person. His behaviour seemed to be escalating over the year.
One of the people who was questioned at the scene of the shooting, had known him since 2009, and said he knew the side of Erik that was a Marine. It is well known it takes discipline and patience to be a Marine. They don't take on people with short and unpredictable behaviour, therefore, Erik didn't have a history of losing his temper quickly.
He had worked as a lawyer for many years and was used to being verbally challenged without reacting emotionally, this is a normal occurance in a court. This is behaviour he would practice everyday.
So what could be the reason for such a drastic change? Why would a man with so many great achievements seemingly throw it all away over a voicemail message. Why would a Ex Marine and practicing Lawyer decide to venture into the world of illegal drug production and distribution?
The answer may be more simple than it appears.
Court papers show he was ordered to "undergo an evaluation for, and fully comply with, treatment for chemical dependency" (04/2019 P.5) suggesting that his odd behaviour may be attributed to a substance misuse problem.
Which would account for the progressively worsening outbursts of Erik Graeff. It would also explain the reasoning behind the production of drugs in his home and the erratic mood swings that were described in accounts of those who knew him. Although each person reacts differently to drugs, addiction of such substances can take hold of a person rapidly. It can alter their behaviour and priorities quickly, leaving only a shadow of the person people once knew.
Everton Bailey Jr. (Feb 28, 2018 updated Jan 30, 2019). Attorney accused of shooting other lawyer's office in Beaverton. The Oregonian/OregonLive. Retrieved from https://www.oregonlive.com/beaverton/2018/02/attorney_accused_of_shooting_o.html Accessed:11 Jan 2021
Graeff, E. (2015). Cover Yours: Estate Planning and Will Contests in Oregon. Law Offices of Erik Graeff - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16305586.Erik_Graeff
Jerzy Shedlock (01/24/2019) Vancouver lawyer who fired shots at colleague’s office sentenced to 18 months in prison. The Colombian. Retrieved from -https://www.columbian.com/news/2019/jan/24/vancouver-lawyer-who-fired-shots-at-colleagues-office-sentenced-to-18-months-in-prison/ Accessed:11 Jan 2021
Superior Court of Washington County of Clark, (Jul 05 2019). Felony Judgment and Sentence (FJS) (Jail One Year or Less) (RCW 9.94A.500, .505)(WPF CR 84.0400/RAR (04/2019)) Page 5 of 12. From - http://members.calbar.ca.gov/courtDocs/19-C-30590.pdf
Upcounsel (ND). User profile Erik Graeff. Upcounsel.com retrieved from - https://www.upcounsel.com/attorney/profile/56e18edfb397fc3375bd57c3 Accessed:11 Jan 2021-
WASHINGTON DISCIPLINE SYSTEM 2019 ANNUAL REPORT. (2019) Graeff, Erik J. #48235. The Washington State Bar Association. P.12 Retrieved From - https://www.wsba.org/docs/default-source/licensing/discipline/2019-discipline-system-annual-report.pdf?sfvrsn=d5100ef1_10
Washington State Bar News (2019) Discipline & Other Regulatory Notices. Graeff Erik, J. Retrieved from - https://wabarnews.wsba.org/wabarnews/dec_2019___jan_2020/MobilePagedArticle.action?articleId=1545240#articleId1545240 Accessed: 11 Jan 2021