A family in Menifee is mourning the death of a teen after he was shot in the neck while attending a house party.
Devaughn Perkins, who just turned 18 in February, was a Murrieta Mesa High School graduate who was home from Cal State Dominguez Hills when he was killed just after midnight Saturday. He was outside the house in the area of Cleary Street and Michener Drive when a bullet struck him.
As he lay on the ground, struggling to breathe, Perking got on the phone with his older brother, Rodrick Futrell.
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Futrell could hear one of Perkins' friends in the background, willing him to live, telling him that it was OK, that his brother was right there. Futrell, who was stuck in Oakland as his brother grew weaker by the second in Menifee, doesn't remember what he told Perkins as he tried to console him, but he does remember what Perkins said to him.
"He said, 'I'm scared. I don't want to go.'"
Those are the last words Futrell would hear from his little brother before he began choking on his own blood. Officers from the Menifee Police Department arrived at the scene and tried to save him, but Perkins couldn't survive the gunshot.
Futrell says he's now wracked with guilt, unable to shake the feeling that he should have been able to protect the brother who had graduated from high school early and entered college aged just 17, and who, despite being younger, served as an inspiration.
"I wanted to be just like my brother," Futrell said. "He was the most loving and caring person you could imagine. He was the only one that really believed in me."
Now all he has is memories.
He enters Perkins' bedroom and the loss doesn't feel real. He looks at his brother's clothes and thinks that at any second he'll walk in and chastise him for, once again, borrowing his attire. "I don't know what to do. I don't know what to think," he says.
Futrell's mother has tried to remain strong in the few hours since she lost her younger son, but she feels scared by the thought that, just as suddenly as she lost her youngest, she could lose her eldest.
Futrell is back in Menifee now as his family prepares a vigil. He made the trip down from Oakland Saturday afternoon.
Yet the feeling that he should have done more is one he hasn't been able to shake in the intervening hours since the shooting.
"I told him, 'I'm your keeper. I'm gonna be there to protect you no matter what,' and I wasn't," Futrell says, overcome with sadness and guilt as the tears leave his eyes.
Police have not yet confirmed any arrests in the shooting, and Futrell doesn't know what he would want to say to the gunman, except ask him why he shot his brother.
"You were doing something that was wrong and you took someone's life for something that you did that was wrong," he says, voice still shaking.
Perkins' vigil is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday at Harveston Park.
Meanwhile, anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Detective Stoyer with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department's Central Homicide Unit at 951-955-2777 or Detective Salisbury with the Menifee Police Department at 951-210-1000.
If you would like to donate to a GoFundMe account set up for Devaughn Perkins' funeral costs, you may do so here. Note that GoFundMe deducts 2.9 percent of all funds raised, plus 30 cents per donation, in the form of payment processing charges.