In early June, a sheriff’s deputy took a report of a break-in at a suburban Clark County storage unit with a shocking amount of firepower.
Missing from Unit 109 at the Public Storage: a bevy of assault rifles and handguns, at least 20,000 rounds of ammunition and a night-vision monocular, court records obtained by Oregon Public Broadcasting show.
The burglary appears to have set the stage for a fatal confrontation less than two months later, when Guillermo Raya-Leon allegedly used a stolen silver revolver to shoot and kill a Clark County Sheriff’s Office detective investigating him.
When Clark County Prosecuting Attorney Tony Golik charged Raya-Leon with aggravated murder July 24, Golik also charged him with possession of a stolen firearm.
“A serial number check of the silver revolver through (a federal database) revealed that it was stolen,” Golik wrote. He referenced a Clark County Sheriff’s Office case number, which OPB has confirmed to be the storage unit break-in.
Court records filed Tuesday show at least two guns listed as stolen from the storage unit potentially match what police suspect is the murder weapon.
Many details surrounding the fatal shooting July 23 have not yet been released. What is known is that Detective Jeremy Brown conducted surveillance that night on The Pointe Apartments, unit P2. He wasn’t alone, but officials have not yet described the scope of the investigation.
Inside the apartment were three key subjects: Raya-Leon, his brother Abran Raya-Leon, and his brother’s wife, Misty May Raya.
Court records show the family members are connected to a web of storage unite break-ins. It’s not entirely clear if firearms or other weapons were the target in some of those burglaries. Law enforcement agencies in Marion, Washington, Hood River and Linn counties have investigated similar incidents with common vehicles and suspects, records show.
The Public Storage break-in occurred in Hazel Dell, an unincorporated community just north of Vancouver.
It was a bona fide weapons cache, one accomplice told detectives. He said he “has never seen someone have that much firepower” along with ballistic vests, helmets and other armor in the unit.
Stolen gun becomes murder weapon
On June 1, surveillance cameras captured a blue Volvo SUV pulling up near Unit 109, according to a Clark County search warrant.
At 6:30 a.m., three people exited the vehicle and entered a neighboring unit to, eventually, gain access to 109′s spoils. Detectives believe they broke in through the shared wall.
Over the next two days, a similar pattern played out, the search warrant alleges. Footage reviewed by detectives caught multiple people accessing the unit and pilfering the weapons and ammo inside.
On June 3, detectives saw a man and a woman pull up near the unit in a black truck. Over 46 minutes, the footage showed them hauling approximately 25 boxes to the pickup one-by-one. The detectives believed the box contained ammunition.
“I can tell what she is lifting is heavy because she keeps her arms straight down by her sides and when she hands them to the male to put in the truck, she swings her whole body toward him hardly bending her arm,” the detective wrote in the search warrant.
Detectives identified Misty May Raya by her clothes and neck tattoos. The man, Brian Clement, would later admit his involvement to police.
Clement told detectives that Raya enlisted him to open a safe and that it would be “lucrative” for him. Clement said he hauled a safe away and opened it elsewhere.
The storage unit, Clement described, was like an armory. He reported various guns, ballistic helmets, vests and other armor. Also stolen, detectives wrote, were a box of watches, expensive tires and the owner’s credit cards, birth certificate and Social Security card.
Clement told detectives that Raya paid him with guns: “four AR-15s, a 45 and three 9′s,” he said, according to police.
According to charging documents and a search warrant, the thieves took 30 firearms in total, and between 20,000 and 30,000 rounds of ammunition. The security footage showed over the three days that it was all hauled away in Clement’s black pickup and the blue Volvo.
Detectives in Clark County asked Oregon law enforcement agencies if they had similar cases.
That’s when “numerous agencies” reached out, Clark County detectives stated in a search warrant. Police had spotted the pickup and the Volvo at storage unit break-ins in Oregon.
“Many of them, the burglarized units were accessed the same way,” the Clark County detective wrote in a search warrant, “by the person fraudulently renting another unit and then accessing the victim’s unit by breaking through the wall in between.”
In the weeks before Brown’s slaying, Clark County detectives further linked Raya and Clement together as they built the Hazel Dell burglary case.
Detectives accessed jail phone records from June between Raya and her husband, Abran Raya-Leon, at the time lodged in the Clackamas County Jail for stealing a Volvo SUV and attempting to elude police.
Speaking in Spanish, Raya told her spouse she had something he wanted: “cuernos.” Detectives determined cuernos — “horns” — to be describing the curved magazine clip of an AK-47, one of the weapons listed as stolen from the Hazel Dell storage unit, court documents state.
When Raya’s husband asked her who helped her, she gave him one name: “Brian.”
Clement has a history of breaking into storage units routinely. Since August, he’s racked up more than a dozen counts of burglary in several Oregon counties, along with other charges.
In November, he landed charges for trying to steal jewelry, military uniforms and a safe from a mini-storage in Lebanon. A month later, he was charged for stealing Native American artifacts from a U-Haul storage facility in Corvallis.
By the time Clark County detectives questioned him, he was already in jail, arrested by a Hood River deputy July 3 while allegedly attempting to break into another storage facility. The deputy reported finding Clement with a cut lock, a bolt cutter, and two orange handled lock picks that he claimed were for his teeth.
Clark County detectives questioned Clement in The Dalles on July 6. He admitted his involvement with the Hazel Dell case, according to a Clark County search warrant. He also told them Raya angled to rent him a storage unit in Hood River “fraudulently so he could burglarize others as consistent with their modus operandi,” court records state.
In talking with detectives about the Hazel Dell break-in, Clement implicated Raya, Guillermo Raya-Leon and Raya-Leon’s girlfriend. Detectives believed all three worked together.
“Through video surveillance, interviews, and referencing other outside agency reports, Misty May Raya, Guillermo Raya-Leon, (Raya-Leon’s girlfriend), and Brian Clement have been working together to obtain stolen property by burglarizing storage units.”
Guillermo Raya-Leon may not have participated in the Hazel Dell heist, however. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office told OPB that Raya-Leon was jailed on drug charges at the time of the storage unit burglary.
That stint lasted from May 29 through June 19. While the charges are still unresolved, he was released due to overcrowding, the sheriff’s office said.
A month later, Guillermo Raya-Leon would shoot and kill Brown, according to police.
“Misty told (a friend) that they ran from the police in a vehicle earlier that day, and that the police were looking for them regarding a burglary,” an affidavit stated.
As they left the Target store, Guillermo Raya-Leon became knotted with suspicion, his brother and sister-in-law told police, pointing out what he believed to be unmarked police cars on their trail.
“Both Misty and Abran stated that Guillermo repeatedly and emphatically expressed a heightened concern that ‘they were being followed,’” Clark County prosecutors said in charging documents. The family members later told Guillermo he was “trippin’.”
Once at The Pointe Apartments in east Vancouver, Guillermo Raya-Leon became so convinced of police surveillance he left to confront a maroon-colored Jeep in the parking lot, court documents show.
Guillermo Raya-Leon argued with the driver, Detective Brown. Then, gunshots rang out.
Police have declined to state if Brown was investigating the Hazel Dell storage unit burglary the night he died.
But, the Clark County prosecutor has said in court documents, “multiple” agencies sought to arrest Misty May Raya and Abran Raya-Leon for “various criminal violations.” The attorney’s office did not name those agencies.
To date, only Guillermo Raya-Leon faces murder charges. He carried a silver revolver in his waistband that night, his brother and sister-in-law told investigators.
After the shooting, the trio sped off in their friend’s car. Abran drove. And Guillermo still carried the silver revolver, court documents state. They crashed about a mile away.
Police arrested Abran Raya-Leon and Misty May Raya outside a nearby residence. A large, silver revolver matching the description was discovered in the backyard by an agent and specially trained canine with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. There was one spent shell casing in its chamber.
“As this is still an active investigation, I can’t say whether or not the firearm was the one used in the shooting,” said Jason Chudy, a spokesperson with the ATF’s Seattle Field Division.
Guillermo Raya-Leon escaped, only to be caught the next day in Salem.
Abran Raya-Leon was charged with rendering criminal assistance for helping his brother flee, charging documents filed Tuesday state.
While Misty May Raya has not incurred any charges related to Brown’s killing, prosecutors had filed charges against her three days before Brown was shot. She faces multiple counts of identity theft and firearms theft related to the Hazel Dell burglary.
On Tuesday, prosecutors leveled 31 more charges against Raya — mostly more firearms allegedly stolen with Clement from the Hazel Dell storage unit. They included multiple shotguns, rifles, handguns and an AK-47.
The documents also charge her with stealing two Taurus pistols — both silver revolvers, similar to the one police said they recovered not far from where Brown was killed.