Amara Marluke, a 19-year-old student at Portland State University, was fatally shot and killed near campus Monday morning, in what authorities are calling a domestic violence incident.

A singer studying music at the university, the 19-year-old was allegedly involved with Keenan Harpole, 20, a former football player for Portland State who surrendered to police later that day in connection with the shooting. Confessing to the crime, the former running back was charged with second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon, and domestic violence, according to The Oregonian.

It was not revealed how Amara Marluke and Keenan Harpole knew each other, or if the former football player had any motive in the deadly shooting. Authorities also have yet to release any more information since Harpole turned himself into police and explained what happened.

Football Player Keenan Harpole Confesses to Murder of Amara Marluke at Portland State University
Football Player Keenan Harpole Confesses to Murder of Amara Marluke at Portland State University. Photo Credit: Portland State University Athletics

Harpole is currently cooperating with authorities and the investigation into Amara’s death remains ongoing. According to court records, he does not have any previous arrests or convictions in the state of Oregon.

“To say that Amara was the light of our life, a beautiful and a caring soul would not begin to do her justice,” Amara Marluke’s father, Bradley Marluke, told The Oregonian. “Her dedication to her family and friends was unwavering and that she would fall victim to a senseless and violent death is unimaginable.”

Amara Marluke was co-president of the Black Student Union on campus and had a passion for social and racial justice advocacy, according to Bright Alozie, an assistant professor of Black studies at the university.

She was an activist who sought to help people who “couldn’t speak for themselves,” her father said. She was adopted when she was 9 years old, after a “rough start” in the foster care system.

Tributes to Amara flooded social media to honor her memory, including a lengthy post from the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District, where she worked on community outreach projects.

“Amara was an incredible young woman, an inspiring community activist, and a treasured friend to many of us at THPRD,” the organization wrote.

Amara “showed the maturity and skills of a well-seasoned community activist,” the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District stated. “All of us who had the pleasure of working with her marveled at how inspiring, positive, and accomplished she was. We couldn’t wait to see how she would use her talents to make the world a better place.”

“The world lost an incredible young woman with light, passion, and commitment to community building. We stand with Amara’s family and friends and express our heartbreak and outrage over her loss,” the organization continued. “We are just heartbroken and will forever treasure our short time with this amazing and inspiring young woman.”

A GoFundMe page created to help support the family after Amara Marluke’s death has since raised over $6,882 as of Wednesday morning.

“I have a dream, I have plans and I have hope,” Amara Marluke said during her high school graduation speech. “The struggle that you have, that grit, is something you must embrace and hold to as tight as you can. The ownership of that struggle and your scars is what makes you who you are.”

Amara Marluke’s death marks Portland’s 26th homicide in 2022 so far, in just over a three-month span. According to The Oregonian, there were 92 homicides in Portland in 2021, which was a record for the city. Homicides in Portland for the year had not exceeded 60 deaths since 1987.

“Her death is mourned by all of us,” Portland State University president Stephen Percy said in an official statement. “I am profoundly affected by the sheer tragedy of this loss. My heart breaks for Amara’s family and for everyone who knew her. I offer my deepest sympathies. We will work together as a campus community to heal.”