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FBI offers $15K reward to help solve 2020 murder of Portland teen

Ja'mere Malik Brown was shot while sitting in a car with his friend in Northeast Portland on Dec. 31, 2020.

PORTLAND, Oregon — Ja'mere Brown was just 18 years old when he was shot and killed Dec. 31, 2020, in a senseless act of violence. The young man had a promising future ahead of him, and the pain caused by his death has not eased for his mother.

"It's harder, it's harder for me. The first year was a blur and now it's like reality's set in that he's no longer here and he's not coming back," said Angela, who asked not to use her last name.

Brown was sitting in his friend's car in the area of Northeast Durham Avenue and Madrona Street that New Year’s Eve at about 10:30 pm. He was waiting for his mom to come home from work so they could celebrate the new year together at home, as they always did. 

The two teens were watching YouTube videos when they were both shot. Brown died and his friend was critically injured but survived.

"A kid that was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Again I’ll ask the question, where is the community outrage over this?," said Kieran Ramsey, special agent in charge of Portland's FBI field office. "We need people to step forward. We need people to come forward; Ja'mere's mom Angela deserves that. His entire family deserves that."

Credit: FBI

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The FBI has added a $15,000 reward for information leading to Brown's killer. That would go on top of $8,000 raised by loved ones and $2,500 from Crime Stoppers of Oregon. 

"We're going to offer this money out there. We're going to plead with people: look, if you have information, call law enforcement,” said Ramsey, who said the FBI in Portland has already done the same thing in seven other homicide cases to help local law enforcement make headway amid the city's ongoing gun violence epidemic

Like many others, Ja'mere Brown was an innocent victim. He had no history of trouble, no guns or gang affiliation.

“Yet possibly the area he was in that night may have led to a misidentification by these suspects thinking that Ja'mere was a Woodlawn Park blood because he was very close to the area,” said Detective Anthony Merrill with the Portland Police Bureau. 

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Detective Merrill would like nothing more than to solve the case.

“This was a senseless murder and I’m appealing to the community on behalf of his family, his friends, his memory; please come forward if you have information.”

Brown's family, especially his mom, are seeking justice for the things they've lost and miss the most.

“Just hearing him say my name, you know, “mom," and me saying "Ja'mere, Ja'mere," you know — calling him for this or that. He was my best friend,” said Angela.

There are a number of ways to get investigators information. You can contact Crime Stoppers of Oregon at 503-823-HELP or submit a tip online. Tipsters may remain anonymous. You can also call 1-800-CALL-FBI, and the agency will address safety concerns regarding retribution before asking for information. Finally, you can reach Detective Anthony Merrill with Portland Police at 503-823-4033 or email at Anthony.Merrill@portlandoregon.gov.

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