INDIANAPOLIS — The family of a young Indianapolis father, killed outside of his far east side apartment one year ago, is pleading with the public for help in solving his case.

“The last time I spoke with my son I told him I love him. The last time — you don’t know that’s going to be your last time,” said Denise Bonds.

Bonds’ son, 25-year-old Derell Brown was shot in the stomach on the morning of January 25, 2021 at an apartment complex on Redskin Place. He was taken to the hospital, where he died as a result of his injuries.

“He had a big heart, was caring, he just loved life,” said Bonds. “He just didn’t deserve this.”

Derell played football at Lawrence North High School and after graduating went on to join the Army.

“When he told me he wanted to go in the service, I asked him if he was sure, he said yes as soon as he got out of high school,” said Bonds.

Derell had surgery while he was still active duty and was medically discharged before returning home to the Hoosier state. At the time of his death, he left behind a 1-year-old daughter.

“No family needs to go through this. I don’t think they realize when they get angry and pull the trigger you don’t know the down, the ripple effect that it has through the family, everybody,” said Bonds. “You’re looking at financial, you’re looking at emotional, you’re looking at his daughter growing up without her father.”

“You just tore a hole in a whole family.”

Bonds said the pain of losing her son is unbearable. She still struggles to understand every day who could do this and why.

“When all the calls, when all the friends stop coming and you’re there in the quiet you just think about your child,” she said, sobbing.

Although things have changed for Derell’s family over the last year, they said they will never waver in their search for justice. Bonds was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in November and said she continues to make calls in between chemo appointments, refusing to give up until she finds her son’s killer.

“I just want some answers. I mean, any lead, anything. I just want something,” she said. “I think of these first holidays and everything without him. I think of me going through this and him, he would’ve been here to say, ‘mom I got you.'”

“It’s like you can’t do nothing about it. So many mixed emotions run through you,” said Derell’s brother, Demarcus Brown. “No family events will be the same, nothing will be the same.”

Derell was one of 24 people killed in Indianapolis last January, a year where the city saw the all-time homicide record shattered.

“Every time I hear of another killing, it breaks my heart because I know what that mother is going through,” said Bonds. “When these people do this you just don’t realize that this is somebody’s baby, this is somebody that is very much loved.”

“I’ve never seen so much killing and hate and all my life,” Bonds said through tears.

She hopes her family’s message and fight for justice will resonate with anyone who has information on her son’s case and any other homicides the city has experienced.

“Just like nationwide, we had an uptick in homicides last year, and each time we reached out to the community for their assistance,” said IMPD officer Genae Cook. “Each time we’re reiterating to the community that each time, each person who has died, one way or another, has a family. They have friends, they have people who love them, care for them and they want to know why.”

“This is a continued battle that we have and toward the latter half of 2021 we had a lot of our community members step up and say, enough is enough, and they stepped forward and they brought answers to families and so we need to remind people to go back,” said Cook.

Cook wants to remind people that the detectives assigned to homicides continue working the cases, but they need anyone with information, no matter how small it might seem, to come forward and help fill in the pieces to the puzzle that could lead to finding those responsible for these crimes.

“Everybody standing up and saying enough is enough, and telling what happened, helps the burden of giving closure to families, giving some type of hope that people are out there and actually care,” Cook said.

“There’s something that should be done because this is a pain that’s not going to go away. I cry and I hurt every day. Somebody knows what happened. I don’t know how they can even walk around knowing that you took somebody’s life. That person was a person, and you just took their life like it was nothing,” said Bonds.

No suspects have been announced and no arrests have been made in Derell’s case. Anyone with information in the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers. You can do so anonymously at (317) 262-TIPS.

“If you know anything, please say something. I mean it’s not going to ease my pain but at least I’ll know,” said Bonds.