SALT LAKE CITY - A man sought in the fatal shooting of an armored truck courier in Phoenix apparently has been spotted around Salt Lake City, and FBI agents are canvassing his associates for information.
Agents say Jason Derek Brown, 39, speaks French, has a master's degree in business, prefers flashy cars and hangs out at gyms and nightclubs. He is on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.
Brown is accused of shooting courier Robert Keith Palomares five times in the head at close range with a .45-caliber handgun on Nov. 29, 2004, outside a Phoenix theater. The FBI said Brown made off with $56,000 on a bicycle he ditched that yielded his fingerprints.
On Dec. 4, 2004, an arrest warrant was issued by Arizona's Maricopa County Superior Court charging Brown with first-degree murder and armed robbery. Two days later, Brown was charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution in a federal arrest warrant, issued by the U.S. District Court of Arizona.
The matching fingerprints came from an application Brown submitted weeks earlier in Utah for a concealed-weapons permit. Utah authorities held the license because of the shooting, and it was never issued.
Brown has been described as looking like a young version of Sean Penn.
"He was cocky. He was arrogant," recalled Clark Aposhian, a weapons instructor who taught Brown how to fire a Glock semiautomatic handgun.
Aposhian was working at a gun shop and sold the Glock for $530. Brown also immediately signed up for instruction to legally carry a concealed weapon. He claimed to know how to handle guns, but his inexperience showed.
"His fundamentals - his grip, stance - were all wrong," Aposhian said.
Brown was known to drive a BMW sedan. He put it in storage, where his brother later retrieved it and was arrested for tampering with evidence. The brother's arrest didn't lead to Brown's capture, however.
Agents said they received a credible report that Brown was seen at a traffic light near Hogle Zoo earlier this summer. They declined to say what kind of car he was driving.
It was one of several reports the bureau received that Brown is visiting or living in Salt Lake City, where he once sold golf clubs, FBI spokesman Juan T. Becerra said.
"He's extremely bright and well spoken and probably a charming individual - and he's lived this lifestyle under the radar for years," Becerra said.
Brown is considered armed and dangerous. The FBI is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Brown has ties to California, Utah and Arizona, and has traveled to France and Mexico, according to his FBI profile. In France, he served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Brown is 5 feet 10 inches tall, of medium build at 180 pounds with a tan and green eyes. He's known to change the length and color of his hair to avoid detection, Becerra said. He has gone by the aliases Derek Brown, Greg Johnson, Harline Johnson, Greg Harline Johnson, John Brown and Jay Brown.
The Deseret News in Salt Lake City reported on the Brown sightings Tuesday.