PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — One year ago, Brian Spaulding was found shot to death at his home on NE 10th Avenue in Portland. Detectives at the time said they didn’t know the circumstances surrounding his death.
They still don’t.
To help solve the June 12, 2017 murder, his friends and family have raised $20,000 in reward money for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible.
Spaulding, who was 36, worked as a massage therapist and was a martial arts student at Straight Blast Gym in Northeast Portland.
‘Shirt off your back kind of guy’
Spaulding’s sister Kate Bostick said it’s hard to believe it’s been a year.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m in that moment again and sometimes it feels like it was a lifetime ago,” she told KOIN 6 News. “It’s just a crazy thing.”
She never “would have imagined in a million years” that something like this would have touched her life. “Especially my brother. He was one of the most gentle, kindest people that you would meet.”
Bostick said her brother was a “shirt off your back kind of guy” who wasn’t confrontational. “I don’t see how he could have invited this upon himself. And also the idea of it being random is also unfathomable.”
Brian’s dad, George Spaulding said his murder “just blindsided us.”
“It’s been a year and the fact that the case is nowhere, when you’re down that low everything is up,” he said.
His mom, Carolyn Spaulding, said Brian was “getting ready to set up his own little shop in his apartment to work on family and friends.”
She said the past year has “just been mind-numbing. You go one day ahead and 2 days back.”
‘Just a super happy-go-lucky guy’
Justin Abbott, the assistant manager at Straight Blast Gym, remembers Spaulding as a nice, generous person who always gave of himself for others.
“He spent a lot of time working with people. He wasn’t officially a coach, but that didn’t stop him from donating his time helping people and making sure everyone was growing with the gym,” Abbott told KOIN 6 News.
Spaulding was always in a good mood, and especially when he was on the jujitsu mat, he said.
“Just a super happy-go-lucky kind of guy, like, always had a big smile on his face when he was on the mat, joking around. He kind of brought the best out of everyone he was training with.”
Abbott said Spaulding’s killing still makes no sense to him.
“I’ve gone over it in my head a million times as to, like, what would be the cause of it or reason for it,” he said. “I just don’t see him as someone who would have that kind of an enemy.”
Now, a year later, Abbott said the whole thing is sad and he didn’t expect the case to still be unsolved.
“You can tell his family really wants to put some kind of end to this, where they have some answers and can finally put this to rest,” he said.
Abbott hopes the reward money sparks someone’s memory.
“Maybe it’s going to make them think about it a little bit and go, oh, yeah, maybe this is the one little bit of information that might break the case.”
‘I don’t know what happened or why’
George Spaulding said there’s a simple reason they raised the $20,000 reward.
“Money talks, and if that’s what it takes to knock something loose, so be it.”
The questions surrounding her brother’s killing and the mystery of who did it and why “makes you feel really powerless and scared,” Kate Bostick said. “I can’t put it to rest.”
She and her family would love to have some answers.
“I don’t know what happened, I don’t know why it happened. My brother was big about personal responsibility and I feel like he would want somebody to take care of this personal responsibility. Somebody made a choice that ended the rest of his life and they should have to stand for that,” she said.
“He deserves that much and more. But that’s what we can try and accomplish.”