Thousands attend memorial service for slain Clark County sleuth

After the hearse passed with a wake of law enforcement vehicles, Jerry Jones, a Ridgefield resident, said he was proud to watch it from the freeway overpass. The 60-year-old said he was standing there for his family and friends who couldn’t get away on Tuesday morning.

“These men, they leave their families every morning to protect our families,” Jones said. “They’re the ones we call on, whatever the situation.”

Jones was standing within a mile of a memorial to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. Jeremy Brown. Brown died on July 23 while investigating suspects in a gun heist. During the investigation at an apartment complex in east Vancouver, one of the suspects confronted Brown and shot him in the chest.

The memorial began with the procession on Tuesday, attended by many witnesses like Jones who watched from the highway overpasses. It started from the Clark College campus in Vancouver, along Interstate 5, and finally to ilani Casino Resort.

Flowers and messages adorn a Clark County Sheriff’s Office SUV outside a memorial service for murdered Detective Jeremy Brown on August 3, 2021. Brown died on July 23 while investigating a threesome suspected of theft of firearms, according to records.

Troy Brynelson / OPB

People waved flags or hand-made placards honoring the detective, who became the second Clark County deputy since 2004 to die in the line of duty. Law enforcement officers and firefighters also stood with vehicles on the ground to pay tribute. Authorities estimated that around 300 emergency vehicles took part in the procession.

Kyra Spencer, whose husband is the Sheriff’s Deputy in neighboring Cowlitz County, said Brown’s death impacted hers and other law enforcement families. She stood in front of the casino as the procession passed.

Spencer said deaths in the line of duty always resurface the dangers of the job. In 2019, Cowlitz County MP Justin DeRosier was shot and killed in response to a complaint filed in a motorhome.

“If someone is killed, we also lose a member of our family. They are husbands and fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers, ”said Spencer, 36. “When you have a loss like this, we have to support them. “

At the casino’s events site, officials estimated that more than 2,500 people attended the memorial. Brown’s children, wife and sister described him as the glue of the family, someone who was passionate about the outdoors and plunged headlong into new passions like sailing. He was a grandfather of seven, noted his son, Gage Brown.

“His phone wrap was nothing but beautiful, happy babies, and he was pretty proud of it,” Gage Brown said. “Dad was insightful and had a very special way of connecting with people. I know it has served him well as a father, husband and friend. But I imagine that found a way to benefit him in his professional life as well. “

Motorcycles leading Sergeant Jeremy Brown's motorcade roll up I-5 North in Clark Country, Wash. On Tuesday, August 3.

Motorcycles leading Sergeant Jeremy Brown’s motorcade roll up I-5 North in Clark Country, Wash. On Tuesday, August 3.

Hanin Najjar / OPB

Brown joined the Clark County Sheriff’s Office in August 2007, according to state records. He worked with the Washington Department of Corrections and the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office in Montana. He was a US Marine Corps veteran.

Brown has spent the past four years as a detective on a drug task force with sheriff’s assistants and officers from the Vancouver Police Department. Last October, Brown and two other MPs shot dead 19-year-old Kevin Peterson Jr. during an attempted drug injection. The shooting remains under review by Pierce County prosecutors.

It is not known if Brown was working in his capacity with the Drugs Task Force on the night of his death. Court records indicate that a separate task force called in the Drugs Task Force to help investigate a trio of suspects in a full-scale gun heist.

Undercover officers had followed the suspected thieves – who allegedly stole around 30 guns from a storage unit in June – from Castle Rock, Wash., To Portland on July 23, court records show. At one point, Brown joined the investigation and was conducting surveillance when Guillermo Raya-Leon allegedly shot him.

Raya-Leon, 26, is charged with aggravated first degree murder. He made his first appearance Thursday in Clark County Superior Court.

Two of Brown’s supervisors spoke at the memorial: Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins and Deputy Chief Criminal Affairs Officer John Horch. Atkins lamented that he could have gotten to know Brown better outside of work, but noted that Brown’s reputation as a friendly colleague and role model was well known within the agency.

“You felt how much he loved and cared about others,” Atkins said. “He loved the sheriff’s office, but you really felt his love when you told him about his family.

Horch was laughed at with stories of puzzling sayings from Brown – like calling someone “strong as a hawk” – and noted that Brown intended to defend law enforcement once he took his position. retirement. Horch said Brown wanted to write a book that “would tell the truth about the state of law enforcement.”

“He felt that law enforcement was not allowed to speak openly, but when he stepped down he was going to shout it out from the top of the mountains,” Horch said. “Jeremy is not enjoying his retirement. He was murdered for doing his job. Murdered while trying to remove guns in the street. And he deserved the right to be heard, and he will be now.

Horch then said Brown was “extremely concerned” about new police liability laws that came into effect in Washington on July 25. He encouraged the crowd to “step out of (their) comfort zone and start getting involved”.

“Jérémy asks. I guarantee you he asks that. The police are asking, ”said Horch. “Don’t let this be another law enforcement funeral that you’re just sad about.”

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