Indy father and Army veteran murdered amid violent start to 2021


INDIANAPOLIS — The new year has gotten off to a violent start in Indianapolis with two dozen killings in the first month.

Today, the family of one of those victims is sharing their story as they search for justice.

Shot in the stomach last Monday morning at an apartment complex on Redskin Place, 25-year-old Derell Brown died from his injuries.

“That was my son and he didn’t deserve that,” sobbed the victim’s mother Denise Bonds.

Through tears, Derell’s mother sat with her others kids and explained how her son played football at Lawrence North. 

After graduating high school, he joined the army before hurting his back and getting a medical discharge.

Derell now leaves behind a 1-year-old daughter.

“We have to explain to her why her father was murdered,” said Denise. “You can never imagine this hurt.”

“It makes no sense. Our lives are forever changed. It hurts to have him taken,” said the victim’s sister Shanise Allen.

Family provided photo of Derell Brown.
Family provided photo of Derell Brown.

The deadly shooting last week was one of 24 homicides in Indianapolis in January. That’s higher than the 16 homicides the city saw in January last year before Indy shattered the all-time homicide record at the end of the year.

Derell’s family thinks he may have had ongoing issues with some guys, but the exact motive for the murder remains unclear.

“I don’t think they know the devastation that they caused. Derell was so loved,” said Denise.

In addition to Derell’s case, the mass murder of six people on Adams contributed to a higher than normal homicide number in January, but that’s only part of the increase.

Over the last seven years the previous high for the month was 17 killings in 2018, with a low of nine in 2015.

“I just don’t understand nowadays how kids can be so cruel and resort to killing somebody for nothing,” said Denise.

So far no arrests have been made in Brown’s case. Anyone with information on the case can still contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

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