Who Was Amara Marluke — 19-Year-Old Student Allegedly Killed By Ex


Photo: Amara Marluke via Instagram

A Portland State student was shot and killed by her on-again, off-again college boyfriend in an act of domestic violence, reports say.

On Monday (April 4), police arrived at the scene of a reported shooting near the Portland campus. It was later revealed that former football player and fellow student Keenan Harpole gunned down 19-year-old victim Amara Marluke.

Marluke died from gunshot wounds in what has been ruled a homicide, according to the medical examiner. 

The 20-year-old gunman turned himself in after being tracked down by authorities. Harpole has been charged with second-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon — both charges are connected to domestic violence, jail records indicate. 

Marluke’s family told People Magazine that the Portland State students started their tumultuous relationship in 2021 and suggested a prior domestic violence incident occurred while they were dating.

"He was her first love, but there were a lot of destructive elements, early,” Amara’s aunt Melanie Henricksen revealed.

A young activist, Marluke was the co-president of Portland State’s Black Student Union and passionately spoke out against racial injustice. 

Amy Marluke, her mom, said, "You couldn't meet Amara and not want to join what cause she was fighting for because she could bring everybody together." The mom of the victim added, "She was endlessly patient. She was always willing to teach with compassion.

A statement from the Portland State's president, Stephen Percy, described Marluke as “an artist, and an activist, and a vibrant member of our community.”

Percy continued in his statement, "I am profoundly affected by the sheer tragedy of this loss," the university president said. "My heart breaks for Amara’s family and for everyone who knew her."

Harpole is currently being held at Multnomah County Detention Center. Despite turning himself in after the shooting, the suspect has pled not guilty.

Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available: 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264

The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001

For more mental health resources, click HERE

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