Deric, a former security guard who worked for the city as a Memphis Housing Authority Police Officer, had enrolled in the Memphis Police Department's training academy but was released in August 2006 for failure to complete the physical training portion after a knee injury.
While it was his hope to recover and become a full-fledged police officer, it was during the early morning hours of Tuesday, April 28th, that Deric’s law enforcement dreams came to a screeching halt.
That evening, Deric visited a woman he had been dating and her 11-year-old son at Lynnfield Square apartments at 1429 Sycamore Bend in East Memphis.
Police received two calls that night from that location, one reporting a prowler and the other from the 11-year-old son of Deric’s girlfriend.
When police arrived on the scene, they found two people, Deric’s girlfriend and her ex-boyfriend, shot to death, and Deric critically injured with 16 bullet holes scattered throughout his body.
According to Deric’s father, an investigation led police to discover that that Deric’s girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend had entered the residence, brutally executed the girlfriend and tried to kill the 11-year-old boy before turning the gun on himself.
A Memphis News website (www.commercialappeal.com) reported that Deric and the 11-year-old boy ran out of the apartment when they arrived and the ex-boyfriend refused to open the door and wanted to talk with a negotiator.
The Memphis Police TACT team then entered the apartment and found a 39-year-old woman who died at the scene.
The ex-boyfriend, who was 46 years old, was taken to The Med, where he died. Investigators had not released their names late Tuesday.
While the boy was unharmed, Deric was rushed to the hospital with a slim chance of survival.
Doctors recovered 10 bullets from Deric’s battered body at the hospital and according to his father, the “Robocop,” a nickname local police officers gave Deric after the incident, is still fighting for his life.
Undergoing multiple surgeries and still requiring several more, Deric lost several fingers, sustained multiple gunshots to the abdomen, two rounds to the groin that caused major damage, rounds to the shoulder, neck and back, and yet still walked to the ambulance when it arrived.
Using his body as human shield to save the life of the 11-year-old boy, Deric literally carried the boy, running out of the apartment. Deric was struck by 13 rounds, yet fought his way to get to his truck, and to his personal firearm, in order to stop the ex-boyfriend. He collapsed before making it to the truck.
While he wasn’t a full-fledged Memphis Police Officer, this heroic young man had a 30 car escort to the trauma center downtown, the entire route blocked off by officers who had exited their patrol cars and held their hands over their badges as a sign of respect and hope for his recovery.
A donation account has been opened to help pay for the cost of Deric's recovery, due to the fact that he has no medical insurance.
“What happened to him has devastated our lives in a way unimaginable, but it has also proved to us all that God's power is limitless,” said Deric’s sister Dana Hoffman. “My brother saved an 11-year-old boy's life, after being shot 13 times. He has been working as a security guard for many years, all in which he was never severely injured. He was a victim of a brutal crime in which the perpetrator killed another innocent woman and then himself. He has two beautiful kids and a long life left ahead of him at only 22 years of age. His and our love is with everyone who can help.”