When 14-year-old Duval "DJ" DeShields saw a group of preteen girls and boys fighting in his North Philadelphia neighborhood, friends said he brandished a BB pistol and the fighting ended.

DeShields' act of intervention on Oct. 12 later got him killed.

On Wednesday, friends told a Philadelphia judge that Dimitrius Brown, 19, confronted DeShields at 8:40 p.m. on 10th Street near Thompson. Brown grabbed DeShields and demanded:

"What makes you think it's cool for you to pull a gun on one of my young bulls?"

DeShields broke free, turned and ran and witnesses said Brown shot him once in the head. DeShields, an eighth grader at Dunbar Elementary School, died the next day.

Police said the BB gun fell out of DeShields' pocket as he was being rushed to the hospital.

Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Patrick F. Dugan ordered Brown held for trial on murder and gun charges.

DeShields' death stunned his community where he was known for his dancing, entertaining, and love of music - and how he handled the 2013 death of his mother from cancer and his older sister's death from the same disease a year later.

Brown was arrested Oct. 16 in a courtroom at the city's Criminal Justice Center where he was to stand trial for theft. Brown was later convicted of the theft charge and is also awaiting trial in a drug case.

Assistant District Attorney Chesley Lightsey called two friends of DeShields - Hanif Macey, 17, and Brianna Boone, 18 - who testified that they were riding bikes when the fatal confrontation occurred. Both identified Brown as the shooter and said they knew him from the neighborhood.

Both said that after breaking up the fight, DeShields got a cellphone call saying the mother of one of the boys in the fight was angry that DeShields had brandished the BB pistol.

Macey testified that he had seen DeShields before with the BB gun, which he said had an orange plastic tip to distinguish it from a real firearm.

Defense lawyer Shaka M. Johnson questioned both witnesses about some discrepancies in their statements to police and argued that the BB pistol might have easily been mistaken for a real gun.


215-854-2985 @joeslobo