Binoculars, laptop in unmarked Jeep raised suspicions of man accused in killing of Clark County detective
Guillermo Raya Leon approached the unmarked maroon Jeep Grand Cherokee in the lot of Vancouver’s Pointe Apartments from the driver’s side, then asked, “Are you looking for someone?” as he held his hand on a concealed revolver in his left pocket, according to court records.
Raya Leon said he spotted a thick laptop between the driver and the passenger seat “like the police use,” confirming his suspicion the man behind the wheel was an “undercover” cop, Vancouver Police Detective Jason Mills wrote in a newly filed probable cause affidavit. The driver had been seen periodically peering through binoculars at the rear patio of the apartment where Raya Leon was staying, the affidavit said.
According to Raya Leon, the driver, now known to be Clark County Sheriff’s Detective Jeremy Brown, produced a gun from his right side and told him to get back.
Raya Leon said he stepped back, pulled out a .357-caliber revolver, fired at the detective and ran, according to the affidavit.
Brown, 46, was shot once in the chest on the night of July 23 but fired off several rounds, according to Vancouver police investigators.
Raya Leon and witnesses heard a succession of gunshots as Raya Leon ran off.
Brown, a 15-year member of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, died that night at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.
Raya Leon, 26, his brother and his brother’s wife had gone to the Vancouver apartment with the hope of selling a stash of stolen firearms, having planned to arrange a sale through Facebook Messenger, according to the affidavit.
Earlier that day, Raya Leon, his brother Abran Raya Leon, and his brother’s wife, Misty M. Raya, had been riding in a Volvo along Interstate 5 in Oregon with several of the firearms, including AR-15 rifles, that were stolen in June from a Vancouver Public Storage unit.
At one point, police attempted to stop the Volvo on the freeway, but Abran Raya Leon told investigators he was able to evade officers and get away, according to documents. They drove to a Target in Portland, where Misty Raya’s friend picked them up in a silver Toyota Sequoia. Abran Raya Leon told police he transferred the stolen firearms to the Toyota, and they headed to the Pointe Apartments in Vancouver, the affidavit said.
After Guillermo Raya Leon shot the detective, Abran Raya Leon sped away from the Vancouver apartment complex in the Toyota with his brother and wife.
Abran Raya Leon and Misty M. Raya were arrested the next morning in the backyard of a home in the 8700 block of Northeast 76th Avenue in Vancouver, after crashing the car in the area of I-205 and Padden Parkway. Police recovered the stolen revolver used in the shooting of Brown in the backyard area, and a stolen Glock handgun from the driver’s floorboard of the crashed Toyota, according to the affidavit.
Guillermo Raya Leon burglarized a residence on that block, stole keys to Toyota Prius and escaped in the car before he was arrested two days after the shooting in Salem, according to the affidavit.
Abran Raya Leon, 28, is now also accused of second-degree murder and two counts of possession of a stolen firearm. He’s being held in Columbia County Jail on separate federal charges.
Guillermo Raya Leon has been charged with first-degree aggravated murder and possession of a stolen firearm.
Misty Raya, 35, has pleaded not guilty to 39 counts, including 32 charges of theft of a firearm, as well as charges of identity theft and burglary. Both Guillermo Raya Leon and Misty Raya are in Clark County Jail.
Prosecutors have filed records indicating they’ll seek life prison terms for the trio allegedly tied to the ambushed killing of the detective, if convicted.
Federal authorities also are investigating the three in connection with the alleged conspiracy to traffic firearms.
— Maxine Bernstein
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