This is the first of six posts examining the deaths of young men both involved in and surrounding the Ferguson Uprising. DeAndre Joshua was found murdered in an apartment parking lot – but no answers have ever been given who why this young man met such a grisly fate. So we’re here to ask – why was DeAndre Joshua murdered, and was it related to the uprising? Let’s explore.
Who Was DeAndre?
Unfortunately, during my research, I have discovered a trend with these cases. All of these young mens’ lives have become overshadowed by their deaths. There is very little information available online about who they were in life – what their interests were, what their personalities were like, or even simple information like birth dates. So, as I always say when this is the case – if you knew DeAndre, please feel free to reach out. I would love to add more detail about his life here. He deserves to be known for more than his death. The only real tidbit of personal knowledge I could find about DeAndre was that he was a friend of Dorian Johnson, who was with Michael Brown when Brown was shot and killed by Darren Wilson.
How Was DeAndre Involved In The Uprising?
I have not come across any reporting to indicate that DeAndre was actively involved in or outspoken about the Ferguson Uprising -which is, of course, not to say that he was not involved. Statistically, it seems likely to me that he was involved in some measure – it was seemingly near impossible to live in Ferguson at the time and not have a stance. However, he was not individually named in reporting on the Uprising, unlike some other young men we will talk about in this series.
The night before DeAndre was found murdered was a contentious one in Ferguson – it was November 24, 2014, and a Grand Jury had declined to indict Darren Wilson on any charges regarding the death of Michael Brown. The Uprising was redoubled in renewed outrage over the Grand Jury’s decision that night. Demonstrators hit the street with renewed vigor – and this was the backdrop to which DeAndre was murdered.
At 9 AM the next morning, DeAndre was found in the front of a white Pontiac Grand Prix, in the parking lot of the Canfield Green Apartments. The location itself is of note – it was near the site of Michael Brown’s shooting. It was clear that DeAndre had been murdered – there was a single gunshot wound to his head, along with bloody glass near the car. And, this is the disturbing part, some sort of accelerant had been poured on him – and his body was lit on fire. The only upside of that is that it appeared he had died before the fire was set – a small mercy in an enormous tragedy.
Despite DeAndre’s death being ruled a homicide from the start, it appears that the case has made little investigative progress. It has been seven years and counting and no one has been held accountable for this loss of life.
After researching this case, I have discovered that there seem to be three theories here. We’re going to work through them from least to most politically charges – so the first theory is that DeAndre was murdered in a crime unrelated to the protests. This is a sort of umbrella theory that covers a lot of ground and a lot of speculation. The first possibility beneath this theory is that DeAndre was targeted specifically by someone – the why in this situation is unknown, however. The second possibility is that DeAndre was murdered in a case of mistaken identity.
The second theory is that white supremacists, emboldened by the Grand Jury’s failure to indict Wilson on any charges and likely enraged by the continued uprising, targeted DeAndre. It is unlikely that, in this case, he was targeted as an individual – rather, he was targeted as a Black Person, made to pay for what “his people” were doing. The third theory is essentially the same as the second – but rather than a random citizen perpetrating the crime, some suspect that a rogue police officer committed the crime. Of course, there is no evidence of this, but there has been clear evidence of police misconduct and racism in Ferguson
It is impossible for me to pick any one theory because, really, we don’t know anything about the case. We don’t even really know the extent of any investigation. Or who was handling it. Whether it’s still considered open or cold. I can have hope that it’s being worked on and tips are being followed up on, but I’m skeptical. And while we can’t point to any one person or group being responsible beyond speculation, we can say that the climate of the area at the time was contentious and that the institutions meant to protect people were rife with misconduct and bias that actively worked against people of color.
The murder of DeAndre Joshua remains unsolved. Motives remain unknown. He, his family, his friends, and the community of Ferguson deserve answers.