Family members react to woman killed while celebrating 63rd birthday in Newark

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- In every big family, there's one person who's in every picture: the family rock.

For the Derrick family of Newark, it was Debra.

"My sister Debra was my best friend," Chevelle Derrick said.

Last week, as the Derrick's gathered to celebrate Debra's 63rd birthday on the residential block of Lehigh Avenue, a fusillade of bullets came out of nowhere.

Debra shoved her granddaughters out of the way and into the house, putting herself in the line of fire.

"She risked her life for ours," granddaughter Nakiyah O'Neal said. "When she took a bullet, two bullets to the head for us."


Ramona Derrick said "Debra died in front of her house, in front of her grandchildren, her sisters, her nieces, everybody."

Family members think it stemmed from a fight between 12 year olds, one of whom had an adult settle a score.

"She didn't even get to cut her cake," Chevelle Derrick said.

But it's Debra who paid the price.

"And now my sister's gone," Chevelle Derrick said. "And she ain't coming back. She's not coming back at all. And i miss her."

If detectives have any leads in this case, they haven't revealed them publicly, but they are asking for the public's help in catching whoever gunned down this 63-year-old grandmother on her own stoop on her birthday.

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Toni Yates reports from the scene of the attack in Carteret.



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