3 indicted for killing pregnant Ervaeua Herring

Police say accused killers are members of the Hoover gang

Demetruis Ray Brown, Geontae Brachaurd Jones and DeAnthony Paul Simmons, April 28, 2016 (Multnomah County Sheriff's Office)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Indictments alleging murder – among other charges – have been filed against three men linked to the 2014 slaying of a 21-year-old pregnant mother.

Ervaeua Ronchelle Herring was found dead around 5 a.m. on August 17, 2014 inside her residence at the Eastwood Village Apartments located near Southeast 151st and Southeast Powell Blvd.

Grand Jury Indictment

On April 28, a Multnomah County grand jury filed a true bill against Demetruis Ray Brown, Geontae Brachaurd Jones and DeAnthony Paul Simmons.

Each is a member of the Hoover gang, according to law enforcement.

The three men are charged with three counts of murder with a firearm, two counts of burglary with a firearm and one count each of unlawful use of a weapon with a firearm. Jones and Simmons are both charged with being felons in possession of a firearm.

According to police, the only available suspect description at the time of the shooting was that the suspects were described as African American males armed with guns.

“Homicide detectives have worked closely with Gang Enforcement Team detectives to follow-up leads in this investigation and have interviewed dozens of people over the course of the past 20 months, resulting in these indictments,” police spokesperson Sgt. Pete Simpson said in a prepared statement.

Targeted Shooting

Police believe Herring’s apartment was targeted. When the shooting occurred, neighbors told KOIN 6 News that several men first broke into the wrong apartment and pointed guns into the faces of a mother and her child. The suspects, according to earlier accounts, soon realized they had the wrong apartment and went to Herring’s unit. That is why Brown, Jones and Simmons are each charged with two counts of burglary.

Detectives believe the shooters were after Herring’s boyfriend. He was not home at the time of the shooting. Police tell KOIN 6 News that there were multiple people firing guns into the Herring’s apartment. The exact number of shell casings recovered has not been released.

Ervaeua Ronchelle Herring appeared to have been standing near the apartment’s back sliding glass door at the time of her death, according to police. Detectives believe the shooting was gang related and was retaliation after a Hoover gang member was shot in downtown hours earlier by a rival gang.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner says Herring was in the early stages of pregnancy at the time of her death.

Brown, Jones and Simmons have all been in custody for several months on unrelated cases.

Demetruis Ray Brown appears in court in April 2016Demetruis Brown

On September 5, 2014, a separate grand jury indicted Brown with murder with a firearm for the June 9, 2013 death of Andreas “Prince” Jones and for the May 26, 2012 attempted murder of Da-Mon McDonald.

Earlier this month, Brown was indicted with third-degree assault, hindering prosecution and witness tampering.

Killing of Andreas “Prince” Jones

Jones was shot and killed at an apartment complex near Southeast 190th and East Burnside, according to Gresham Police.

Records reveal witnesses have identified Brown, 21, as the person who shot and killed Jones.

Family members have earlier described Jones to KOIN 6 News as a young man full of wisdom.

He would give friends and family encouragement, they said.

“His humor was genuine and infectious,” his family wrote at the time of his memorial.

Shooting of Da-Mon McDonald

Da-Mon McDonald – a documented gang member – suffered multiple injuries in the May 26, 2012 shooting after being shot by Brown, according to police. The shooting happened in the area of North Beech Street and Vancouver Avenue. At the time of the shooting, Brown was 17-years-old. Brown has been charged with the attempted murder of McDonald.

Tampering With A Witness

In late January 2016, Brown “while being aided by another person actually present” caused physical injury to an inmate being held in custody at the Multnomah County Detention Center, according to court records.

The man was a potential witness in the murder case against Michael Mininger. Investigators declined to comment on why Brown reportedly assaulted the inmate, though it was widely speculated that the motive may have been over the inmate’s discussions with law enforcement in the Mininger case.

Police say aside from the alleged assault, there is no connection between Brown and Mininger – who killed Randy Williams on Jan. 8, 2015.

Brown is currently being held at the Multnomah County Detention Center. He is pending trial on all three cases.

Geontae Brachaurd Jones

On Oct. 8, 2015, a Multnomah County grand jury filed a 15-count indictment against Jones, 23, for incidents that happened between September 20-27, 2015. Jones was arrested, along with two other people on September 27, after a pursuit through Portland’s eastside and into Gresham.

Jones is charged three counts of attempted murder with a firearm, attempted first-degree assault, being a felon in possession of a firearm and six counts of unlawful use of a weapon.

He also has a pending case that charges him with second-degree escape for an incident that happened on July 19, 2015.

Jones remains in custody at the Multnomah County Detention Center.

DeAnthony Paul Simmons

Simmons, 22, is being held at the Snake River Correctional Institution prison. He entered custody on Dec. 15, 2014 after he pled guilty to one count each of first-degree robbery and attempted second-degree assault for an incident that occurred on Aug. 11, 2014.

Simmons is a self-reporting Hoover gang member, according to court documents.

In a report filed by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Simmons “has been suspected and/or associated with several gang related shootings.”

Simmons was arrested in January 2014 and charged with attempted murder for a shooting that happened December 26, 2013 in the area of Northeast 6th and Northeast Simpson Street. The case was dismissed. Investigators declined to comment on the nature of the case.

About two weeks after the attempted murder case was dismissed, Simmons was arrested in Lane County when he and two of his “associates” were involved in a dispute after a concert in Eugene, according to the sheriff’s office report. Simmons, seven months later, was shot in the leg in a gang-related shooting. Two months after being shot in the leg, Simmons was shot again at a house party in Vancouver.

On Dec. 15, 2014, Simmons pled guilty to one count each of first-degree robbery and attempted second-degree assault and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Ervaeua Herring, 21, was killed in her Eastwood Village apartment in Southeast Portland, Aug. 17, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Ervaeua Herring, 21, was killed in her Eastwood Village apartment in Southeast Portland, Aug. 17, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

A beautiful young mother

The death of Ervaeua Ronchelle Herring was investigated by the bureau’s Gang Enforcement Team and Homicide Detail.

Herring, according to family, grew up in Portland and graduated from Jefferson High School. At the time of her death, Herring was pregnant. In July 2013, she had earlier given birth to a boy. She has been described as a “beautiful young woman of love and respect.”

Her family described her in an online memorial as being “very kind” and said she “would help anyone in need. She loved to laugh and be with all of her family and close friends. She was smart and had a heart of gold.”

Retaliatory shooting

Hours before Ervaeua Ronchelle Herring was shot and killed, a fight broke out near a nightclub and a “large group of combatants brawled, assaulting each other,” according to court documents. About a half hour after the fight, George Waters and two friends arrived in downtown to attend a family gathering.

Waters parked the car he was driving near the Embassy Suites Hotels. Video from the hotel shows Waters and the two others exiting the car.

Officers recovered five .9mm shell casings from the scene.

Officers arrived and found three people, including Jaron Cuie, a suspected gang member, suffering from gunshot wounds. A fourth victim went to a hospital on August 20 and doctors discovered bullet fragments in one of his arms.

Officials believe Ervaeua Ronchelle Herring’s boyfriend was downtown and associated with the fight.

Geontae Jones appear in court in April 2016.
Geontae Jones appear in court in April 2016.

On Tuesday, Brown and Jones were both arraigned at the Multnomah County Justice Center. Simmons remains in state custody and has yet to be arraigned. Attorneys for both Brown and Jones entered not guilty pleas on behalf of their clients.

After the hearing, Herring’s mother, Aleasha Branch and the mother of Andreas “Prince” Jones, Kimberly Dixon, embraced each other on the steps of the Justice Center.

“We have a shared connection,” Dixon said. “We are, unfortunately, a part of this exclusive club of being a parent losing a child outside of the life cycle.”

Dixon continues to urge the community to become more involved in solving the crisis the city is facing when it comes to gang violence.

“This is not isolated to ‘over there’ or just ‘those people’ it is a community wide epidemic,” she said.

Police request help from the public

Portland Police Homicide Detective Anthony Merrill said, despite the arraignments on Tuesday, more work needs to be done on the case.

“Right now we know there are several other witnesses out there,” Merrill said.

He had a message directly for those people: “I’d like to express to them that we’d really like you to come out. Please come  out.”

The detective assured potential witnesses that both police and the district attorney’s office will fight, and potentially prosecute, anyone who threatens or intimidates a witness.

According to police, more arrests are expected in this case.

Anyone with information on the death of Ervaeua Ronchelle Herring is asked to call Homicide Detective Anthony Merrill at 503-823-4033 or via email at: anthony.merrill@portlandoregon.gov.

Comments are closed.