HILLSBORO, Ore- On March 12, 2024, Rose Sunrise pleaded guilty to Manslaughter in the First Degree, Arson in the First Degree, two counts of Criminal Mischief in the First Degree, Arson in the Second Degree, and Burglary in the Second Degree, stemming from a crime spree in downtown Hillsboro, Oregon. On March 26, 2024, Washington County Circuit Judge Janelle Wipper sentenced Sunrise, formerly known as Roel Leon, to 30 years in prison. Senior Deputy District Attorney Andrew Freeman and Deputy District Attorney David Pitcher prosecuted the case against the defendant. 

On December 4, 2021, the defendant broke into a business located in the Weil Arcade in downtown Hillsboro. The Weil Arcade was home to multiple small businesses serving the Hillsboro community. Once inside, the defendant stole several seemingly random items. A nearby surveillance camera captured footage of the defendant leaving the area with the stolen property. 

In the early morning hours of January 2, 2022, the defendant returned to the Weil Arcade, broke into a different business, and again stole miscellaneous property. However, this time the defendant set fire to the business before leaving. A security camera across the street captured the scene as the defendant watched the fire grow and recorded its progress on a phone. The defendant left shortly before a passing patrol officer spotted the flames and called for assistance.

The fire quickly spread throughout the complex and destroyed the Weil Arcade. Several businesses were destroyed and surrounding buildings in the downtown core were impacted. More importantly, the fire also took the life of Ronald Knapp, who investigators believe took shelter on the second floor of the Weil Arcade that night to escape the bitter cold. The next evening the defendant intentionally set two more fires in vehicles parked outside a nearby auto shop. Again, surveillance footage showed the defendant stoking the flames and then leaving before first responders arrived.

Officers with the Hillsboro Police Department immediately launched an investigation and quickly identified the defendant as the primary suspect. On January 5, 2022, they executed a search warrant on the defendant’s residence and found distinctive clothing and items matching those in videos of the suspect, as well as items stolen in the burglaries. After the arrest, the defendant admitted to burglarizing the Weil Arcade and setting the fires. 

These events significantly impacted many people in the Hillsboro community. The Washington County District Attorney’s Office would like to thank the numerous victims, especially the family of Mr. Knapp, for their grace and patience throughout the court process. We also thank the community for its support of the affected businesses following this devastating fire. We would also like to acknowledge the extensive investigative efforts of the Hillsboro Police Department, particularly those of Detectives Michelle Hahn and Megan Townsend, as well as the heroic work of the Hillsboro Fire Department and all of the other assisting fire agencies.

The defendant will be immediately transferred to the Oregon Department of Corrections to begin serving this sentence. 

Media contact information
Stephen Mayer
Public Information Officer
March 26, 2024