The Unsolved Casefile: Who Killed De’Rell Brown?

Posted at 1:13 PM, June 22, 2021 and last updated 1:05 PM, June 14, 2023

By: Nikki DeMentri

INDIANAPOLIS (WRTV) — De’Rell Brown was just 25 years old when police say he was found shot in the parking lot of his Indianapolis apartment complex on January 25, 2021. Brown later died at the hospital.

“We hear all the violence going on in Indianapolis and when it hit home, it hit home hard. Now we feel their pain and it’s a pain that somebody shouldn’t feel,” Brown’s brother, Darnell Bonds told WRTV.


Brown was a father, son, uncle and brother. In high school, his family said he was a football star at Lawrence North, and after graduating he joined the army. He was stationed most recently in Hawaii until his family said he was honorably discharged for medical reasons.

“Everywhere he went he was always smiling. Anywhere he went, he would call you his friend,” Darnell said of his brother.

His family described him as friendly and outspoken with a big heart. His brothers added he was a gamer and loved playing Madden. They said he had dreams of becoming a music producer.

Brown’s mother, Denise Bonds, said she spoke with her son often and drove him to work every single day. Hours before the shooting, she said they ended their phone call with “I love you.”

“I’m looking for the call. I’m looking for him to say ‘mom.’ I mean it’s— I don’t know, you can’t ever put it into words, you can never imagine this hurt, this emptiness, this sickness,” Bonds said.

“I did not expect to lose my child like this. Not like this. Not at all, so whoever, whoever did this and somebody knows. As we always say you can run, but you can’t hide,” Bonds said through tears.

IMPD continues to ask anyone with information on this homicide to contact the IMPD Homicide Office at 317-327-3475 or Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana by calling 317-262-8477.

This story was originally published Feb. 1, 2021, by WRTV in Indianapolis.