Man charged with second-degree murder of roommate in Hazel Dell


A Hazel Dell man has been charged with second-degree murder in the investigation focused on the death of his roommate, court records say.

On July 8, Justin Romero, 31, had his first appearance in Clark County Superior Court. His bail was set at $750,000.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 600 block of Northwest 82nd Street to a report of gunfire on July 6, finding a man who died at the residence. The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the deceased as Michael Brachais, 45, who lived at the residence, and ruled the death a homicide from multiple gunshot wounds.

According to a probable cause affidavit for Romero’s arrest, a witness saw a woman leave the residence and tell the driver of a truck to call 911. The truck began to drive away, but slowed down to tell the witness to call 911, which she did.

While on the phone, the witness saw the woman lead three children away from the residence and get into a green SUV, the affidavit stated, while a man got into the driver’s seat and drove away. A neighbor said he sold the vehicle to Romero a year or two earlier.

Law enforcement received a signed warrant for the address and found Brachais in the house alongside empty bullet casings in the living room, according to the affidavit. Upon searching Romero’s room they found a calendar reading “Trash pile lit on fire, Arson suspected? Mike?” on July 2 and “2 incindiary (sic) devices throw @Hery, Crash stayed and witnessed, (a)ll signs point to
(M)ike as cause” on July 4.

About two hours after the shooting, two of the children were dropped off at their mother’s residence, the affidavit stated. The mother said the kids walked into her residence and she didn’t see anyone drop them off. She said she knew a “Michael B,” who had been roommates with Romero for the past five months.

After being informed by the mother of Romero’s children of the location he usually stored a black pistol, law enforcement searched the safe she said it was stored in and found it empty, also finding an empty holster in the house.

During an interview with one of the children, Romero’s stepson, said he heard Romero yelling at Brachais from a bedroom, telling him to get out or he would shoot him, according to the affidavit. The child heard gunshots followed by what sounded like someone jumping or falling to the ground.

Romero’s stepson said his stepfather came into the bedroom, picked him up and took him out through the bedroom window so he wouldn’t see any blood, the affidavit stated. Romero’s daughter said she was taken out of the house in a similar fashion.

Investigators eventually found the woman who left with Romero — identified as Jessica Perrigo — who said she was making food for the children when Romero and Brachais came in from the garage arguing, the affidavit stated. She said Romero was yelling expletives at Brachais and telling him to leave the house, then she heard Brachais say “Just shoot me.”

Perrigo said she heard gunshots but did not see Romero fire any shots, and saw Brachais on the ground when she entered the living room from the kitchen, according to the affidavit. She then flagged down a vehicle to call 911, after which she, Romero, and the children left.

Romero was found at a residence in Camas where he allegedly drove Perrigo after the shooting, according to the affidavit, and was arrested. Romero made “unsolicited statements” that law enforcement was after him, and upon questioning, he requested an attorney.

He is scheduled for an arraignment hearing on July 22.


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