PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A woman who was shot to death on Monday near Portland State University has been identified, Portland Police announced Tuesday.
Medical examiners confirmed 19-year-old Amara Marluke was killed by a gunshot wound and her death was ruled a homicide.
The shooting happened around 1 a.m. Monday at the corner of SW College and 6th Avenue, in front of Mak’s Market and across the street from the Cheerful Tortoise Bar.
Students living in dorms near the intersection told KOIN 6 News they heard multiple gunshots.
On Tuesday, Marluke’s biological mother and aunt said they were heartbroken in court and noted that her accused killer should not be allowed out of jail.
“I’m just concerned that if he did this to one person, he could do it to someone else because she did not deserve to be shot downtown leaving her work. That’s heart breaking,” Marluke’s mother said.
Marluke was one of the leaders for Portland State’s Black Student’s Union. She also held a similar role at Sunset High School in Beaverton where she graduated last year.
Some of her friends KOIN 6 News reached out to aren’t ready to go on camera, but one said she wants Marluke to be remembered for her accomplishments saying she recognized there was violence in the world and she wanted to stop it.
Marluke herself shared that same message to start Black History Month last year.
“I know that we have a long way to go and we are far from where we want to be. But take this time to take a step back and celebrate that you are Black and celebrate all of these Black individuals that have paved the road for us,” Marluke said.
Her friends and schools have said she was a leader on both campuses. That came after her family shed a light on the tough life she lived in foster care.
“Amara came to our family ten years ago after being beaten, abused, neglected. We had loved her and she was the light of her life,” Marluke’s mother said.
On Monday night, 20-year-old Keenan Harpole turned himself in to authorities in Bend. He was brought back to Portland and booked into the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office for second-degree murder, domestic violence and unlawful use of a weapon.
Harpole was a former running back on the PSU football team in the 2021 season.
Following the arrest, PSU officials released a statement about Harpole’s arrest:
“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 pleaded not guilty on Tuesday and will be back in court April 13.