Suspects charged in sheriff’s deputy death

Alleged shooter aware he was under surveillance, court documents state

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Three suspects in the shooting death of a Clark County Sheriff’s detective face charges ranging from theft to aggravated murder, court documents show.

As of press deadline, Guillermo Raya Leon, Abran Raya Leon and Misty May Raya all have been charged in Clark County Superior Court. The charges stem from a shooting in East Vancouver which left Clark County Sheriff’s Detective Jeremy Brown dead.

Of those implicated, Guillermo Raya Leon faces the heaviest charges, with one count of aggravated first-degree murder and one count of possession of a stolen firearm. Abran Raya Leon faces a charge of rendering criminal assistance, and Misty May Raya faces charges of burglary, theft, unlawful possession of a firearm and more than two dozen charges of theft of a firearm.

According to a probable cause affidavit for Misty May Raya’s arrest, she is alleged to have stolen about 30 firearms and between 20,000 to 30,000 rounds of ammunition, identification documents, credit cards and other belongings totaling more than $5,000 from a storage unit in the 7600 block of Northeast Fifth Street in Vancouver in June.

Misty May Raya’s alleged crimes were in part why she and the two others were under investigation. Both Misty May Raya and Abran Raya Leon acknowledged they were being investigated for criminal activity during interviews, according to Guillermo Raya Leon’s probable cause affidavit for his arrest.

Brown and other investigators were conducting surveillance at The Pointe Apartments in the 3500 block of Northeast 109th Avenue in Vancouver on July 23. Guillermo Raya Leon, Abran Raya Leon and Misty May Raya were seen arriving at the complex in a silver Toyota SUV.

According to the affidavit, Misty May Raya and Abran Raya Leon said they were picked up by Lani Kraabell at a location in Portland. Both said Guillermo Raya Leon “repeatedly and emphatically expressed a heightened concern that ‘they were being followed,’” the affidavit stated. They said he repeatedly said he had seen unmarked vehicles he believed were law enforcement wherever he went.

Brown was surveilling the area in an unmarked Jeep SUV in the parking lot of the complex, according to the affidavit.

Misty May Raya reportedly told investigators Guillermo Raya Leon left the apartment and walked in an indirect manner to Brown’s vehicle. She saw Guillermo Raya Leon engage in a verbal exchange with Brown and shortly after she heard gunshots.

According to the affidavit, Guillermo Raya Leon said Brown shot at him first. Misty May Raya said Guillermo Raya Leon was still armed with the revolver he reportedly used to shoot at Brown when they left in the Toyota.

Other investigators reported hearing “several possible gunshots” in the area, and saw the Toyota, occupied with who investigators believe were Abran and Guillermo Raya Leon and Misty May Raya, drive away at a high rate of speed. Residents of the complex discovered Brown had been shot in the chest while sitting in his vehicle.

A search in the vicinity of the scene led investigators to discover a “large, silver revolver” though no shell casings were found near Brown’s vehicle, which was consistent with a revolver’s method of fire, the affidavit stated. Witnesses stated they heard one shot, a pause, then several more gunshots. Investigation of the revolver showed one fired shell casing in the weapon.

The firearm was reported as stolen, according to a search of the serial number done by investigators.

The Toyota was found crashed and abandoned near Interstate 205 and Padden Parkway, according to the affidavit. Misty May Raya and Abran Raya Leon were located in the backyard of a nearby house, though Guillermo Raya Leon was not found at that time.

Guillermo Raya Leon would be found two days later by U.S. Marshals in Salem, according to police reports. He is currently held without bail in Clark County Jail.

The investigation into Brown’s death has transitioned to the Southwest Washington Independent Investigative Response Team, stated a news release. It will be led by the Vancouver Police Department.

“The Clark County Law Enforcement Council (LEC), made up of the Clark and Skamania County sheriffs and the police chiefs in Clark County, has opted to broaden the activation criteria of the IIT for this investigation,” stated a release. “It appears that Detective Sergeant Brown used force, and although no death, substantial bodily harm or great bodily harm occurred, the attempt was made and therefore the SWIIR was activated.”

Guillermo Raya Leon has been extradited from the Marion County Jail to the Clark County Jail and made his first appearance in Clark County Superior Court on July 29. Abran Raya Leon is awaiting extradition to Clark County, stated a July 30 news release, while Misty Raya is currently lodged in the Clark County Jail.

Brown’s death has received an outpouring of support from the local community. On July 29, dozens of individuals gathered for a “Back the Blue” fundraiser in the parking lot of Living Hope Church. According to organizers, the fundraiser brought in more than $1,200 for Brown’s family.

Another fundraiser for Brown’s family is being held through IQ Credit Union, where anyone can securely donate funds.

On Aug. 13, businesses in Old Town Battle Ground will have their own fundraiser, donating a portion of sales  to the family that day. Participating businesses will have a flier in their window, according to event organizers.

“Old Town Battle Ground shops, like the entire extended North County community, were shocked and saddened to hear of Deputy Jeremy Brown’s ultimate sacrifice in his recent death in the line of duty,” wrote Kari Huegel, of Urban Basics & Co., in an email.

A memorial for Brown will be held at 1 p.m. on Aug. 3 at ilani in Ridgefield. The service is open to the public. A vehicle procession will take place prior to the service. 

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