Perkins remembered in vigil as loving son, brother, friend

Family and friends of Devaughn Perkins gathered at Harveston Lake in Temecula for a vigil in his memory Sunday night. Staff photos by Dou...

Family and friends of Devaughn Perkins gathered at Harveston Lake in Temecula for a vigil in his memory Sunday night.
Staff photos by Doug Spoon

Family and friends gathered Sunday night to pay their respects and remember 18-year-old Devaughn Perkins, who was shot and killed Friday night outside a party at a Menifee residence.

Against the peaceful backdrop of Harveston Lake in Temecula, mourners shared memories, hugged one another and lit candles in Perkins' memory. Many carried white flowers. Perkins' father, Cory Anderson, expressed gratitude for the large crowd that attended.

"It’s very comforting," Anderson said. "It’s a testament to the kind of young man my son was. It gives me joy to see this in a time of despair. We look forward to the healing process. Right now, we’re still in the mourning process."

A female friend who attended the vigil was one of many who remembered Perkins (left) fondly.

"He was really smart, always worried about school," she said. "It was always the gym, school, then home with family. He was so loving. He always wanted to make sure everyone else was OK. He was also goofy; he wanted to make people laugh."

Perkins and his family previously lived in Menifee but later moved to Murrieta, where Perkins attended Murrieta Mesa High School as an honor student before graduating a year early at age 16. He still had many friends in Menifee, including one who hosted the party at a residence near the corner of Michener Drive and Cleary Street. A female friend of Perkins who attended the party said Perkins had decided to help out by watching the door as many in the crowd of nearly 200 arrived.

"He was in front of the party, checking who comes in and who goes out," the girl said. "There was a situation that had happened with a girl who was being pressured by guys ... they were touching her inappropriately. We had confronted those guys about it. Most of the party had come outside then.

"Devaughn wasn’t a part of the situation at all. He was just in the crowd, and then gunshots went off. It hit him and he was laying in the driveway."

The girl said she heard three shots and wasn't sure who fired them because the men being confronted -- appearing to be in their 20s -- were in front of the crowd, near the house, and the shots came from behind them. No suspects have been arrested and investigators continue to follow leads in the case.

"I urge someone who knows something to come forward and talk," Anderson told the crowd. "I know the street lingo about snitching. But if you had nothing to do with it, that's not snitching. That's called doing the right thing."

Anderson said he didn't know many details of the shooting, but that it wouldn't surprise him that his son would be willing to help guard the door.

"That’s a character trait he does have," Anderson said. "He loves to help and he would always protect the safety of others. I believe that if my son felt he was in danger of any kind, he would’ve been out of there very quickly."

Neighbors said they were told by the party organizers that it was a graduation party, but two of Perkins' close friends said that was not true. It was just a statement to justify having a large party, they said.

According to one of the girls, the party was widely publicized on social media and guests came from a wide area to attend.

"I’m definitely not going to another one," one of the girls said.

Deja Anderson (below), Perkins' older sister, shared her thoughts and memories with the crowd just before darkness fell and guests began lighting candles.

"Devaughn was talented, God gifted, the most ambitious kid ever," she said. "Devaughn and I went to college (Cal State Dominguez Hills) together. I'm glad I was able to see him through his first year of college. My duty now is to complete college for the both of us.

"Even though it’s going to be hard every day … I know my brother is with me spiritually; he’s looking down on all of us. We all have to stand together to celebrate him. And the violence around here, it has to stop. All of us are afraid of losing another one."

Perkins' brother, Rodrick Futrell, choked back tears as he addressed the crowd.

"Devaughn was my best friend," he said. "I could tell him anything and he never judged me. He was always looking out for me, always wanted me to do good with myself. Even when I was doing bad stuff, he would look past that. I loved that guy a lot."

A friend who was near Perkins when he was shot spoke briefly, then walked and away and nearly collapsed before being comforted by friends.

"Devaughn Perkins was a really good friend," said Gregory Neely. "He was in college. He was going to live a good life. We just went out for a nice night because that’s what we do sometimes, you know? We celebrate from all the hard work we put in.

"He was standing right there. I’ve never seen a human get shot in my life. He was a good friend and he was there for me in times of need. I know one thing for certain – he’s in a better place."

Anyone with information about the shooting and/or the suspect is asked to call Detective Stoyer with the Central Homicide Unit at 951-955-2777 or Detective Salisbury with the Menifee Police Department at 951-210-1000.


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