Portland State University student is charged with shooting dead classmate and music student near their college campus during ‘domestic violence incident’
Music major and student activist Amara Marluke, 19, died of gunshot wounds at around 1am on Monday
Another PSU student Keenan Harpole, 20, surrendered to police and has been charged in connection with the shooting
Friends said the pair had previously been in a relationship
Harpole, a former college football player, appeared in court Tuesday, charged with 2nd degree murder, domestic violence and unlawful use of a weapon
He’s held without bail
A former college football player has been charged with murder after the death of a 19-year-old music student who was shot dead Monday near Portland State University campus, in a suspected domestic violence incident.
Music major Amara Marluke was identified by police as the woman who was fatally shot on Monday in downtown Portland, near the PSU campus. She died at around 1 a.m., police said. Medical examiners confirmed 19-year-old Marluke was killed by a gunshot wound and her death was ruled a homicide.
Following the her death, another PSU student, 20-year-old Freshman Keenan Harpole, surrendered to police and has been charged in connection with the shooting. He appeared in court on Tuesday, and entered an initial plea of not guilty.
According to KOIN, Harpole was booked into Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office charged with 2nd-degree murder, domestic violence and unlawful use of a weapon.
According to court documents, the former Running Back was not granted bail.
Documents did not detail how the two knew each other, but investigators are understood to be working on the basis that it was a domestic violence incident. Friends said they had previously been in a relationship.
Speaking in court, Marluke’s mom said: ‘It’s a mother’s worst nightmare that somebody so evil would take her life. She was the light of our lives and we strongly encourage the court to protect other women who may face similar.’
Marluke was killed in front of Mak’s Market, a convenience store, and across the street from a bar called the Cheerful Tortoise. The store closes at midnight, with the owner telling KOIN he had been closing early recently because of increasing crime.
According to a GoFundMe page she set up for herself to help fund her education, Marluke was a singer and songwriter studying music at the university.
She was also the co-president of the Black Student Union on campus, according to the Oregonian, and was an activist for a variety of social justice issues. Marluke was one of the leaders for Portland State’s Black Student’s Union. On social media, she had posted images supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. She also held a similar role at Sunset High School in Beaverton where she graduated last year.
‘To say that Amara was the light of our life, a beautiful and a caring soul would not begin to do her justice,’ Amara’s father, Bradley Marluke, told the local newspaper.
‘Her dedication to her family and friends was unwavering and that she would fall victim to a senseless and violent death is unimaginable.’
According to a GoFundMe page she set up for herself to help fund her education, Marluke was a singer and songwriter studying music at Portland State University.
Her father told the Oregonian that Marluke had a challenging start in life, and lived in the foster care system before Bradley Marluke and his wife adopted her when she was nine, along with her younger sister.
He told the newspaper his daughter was an activist that would always stand up for others who ‘couldn’t speak for themselves’.
To help pay for Marluke’s funeral, her friends have set up a GoFundMe page of their own has raised over $8,600 of the $20,000 target.
‘We mourn the loss of Amara Marluke, who was tragically murdered yesterday near Portland State University,’ the page – created on Tuesday – said.
‘Amara is the daughter of Green Hammer’s assistant superintendent, Bradley Marluke. We extend our love, support and deepest sympathies to Bradley and his entire family and the community of friends Amara left behind.’
Police found Amara Marluke’s body in the early hours of Monday morning. She was killed in front of Mak’s Market, a convenience store, and across the street from a bar called the Cheerful Tortoise. Students living in dorms near the intersection report hearing multiple gunshots.
On Tuesday afternoon, a small memorial was placed at the corner of Southwest College and 6th, on the site where the shooting occurred.
The previous day Portland State University released a statement on the shooting.
‘The Portland State community is saddened to learn that the epidemic of deadly gun violence that has plagued so many cities has hit close to home,’ it said.
Following the arrest, PSU released another statement: ‘Portland State University has learned tonight from the Portland Police Bureau that a first year student and former football player at PSU, Keenan Harpole, is the alleged assailant in today’s tragic shooting near campus.
‘This is an unthinkable tragedy and we extend our deepest sympathies to all of those who are impacted by this incident. We will work together as a campus community to heal, reminding each other that violence is never the answer to the problems that we encounter.’
Harpole is a freshman at the university, and a former running back for its football team. According to his profile page on the university’s athletics website, he went to Mountain View High School in Bend, OR, before graduating in 2020.
Harpole does not have previous arrests or convictions in Oregon. He was booked Monday night into the Multnomah County Detention Center downtown on suspicion of second-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon.