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Wounded DJ, wife describe grim scene at house party shooting

Updated April 19, 2022 - 7:34 pm

Derek McMillan played music for more than 100 high schoolers marking the end of spring break late Saturday at a house in North Las Vegas. His wife, Darshelle, was next to him when a barrage of bullets rang out, three of them penetrating her husband’s thighs.

“There were disco lights at the time, but we didn’t see disco lights at all when the shooting (started),” Darshelle McMillan told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Tuesday afternoon from her husband’s room at University Medical Center. “We’ve just seen white lights — shots.”

Derek McMillan, who squirmed in pain from his hospital bed, recalled diving to the floor and the searing pain that followed.

“I just told my wife, ‘I’m hit,’ ” the 33-year-old said. “I just seen a whole bunch of blood.”

Three others were wounded, including two minors and Spring Valley High School senior and basketball star Aaliyah Gayles, who was struck 10 times in her lower body. Her father, Dwight, posted on social media that the 18-year-old was expected to make a full recovery.

The two other victims suffered survivable wounds, said North Las Vegas police, who have not announced any arrests, or provided a suspect description or a possible motive. Sgt. Vince Booker said Tuesday that there were no updates.

Parents at party

Gunfire erupted about 11:15 p.m. at a home on the 4900 block of Support Street, near Lone Mountain Road and Simmons Street, police said.

Derek McMillan, of Highland, California, who has been DJing for a couple of years, was hired by his wife’s friend, who threw the party for her 15-year-old niece and her friend. To ensure a safe, clean environment, Darshelle McMillan said, parents supervised the party, checking attendees’ bags at the entrance.

The only disturbance came about 15 minutes before the shooting, when a group of uninvited girls were kicked out, she said.

Darshelle McMillan, 31, said that in the moments before gunshots began flying, she saw kids looking toward the door. She then saw a “wave” of bodies coming toward her. “Many dived,” she said.

Derek McMillan, who had set up a DJ booth on a corner table, first heard three pops, he said. He dove after he saw his wife drop to the floor. As she dragged her husband toward safety, the gunshots kept sounding.

“It was boom, boom, boom, boom,” she said, explaining that although they lasted no more than 90 seconds, it felt never-ending.

“It felt like they were walking through the house,” she added about the shooter, “just laying bodies down.”

Derek McMillan said he was afraid his wife would be shot, “because it wasn’t stopping.”

Police and medics arrived a few minutes later, his wife said.

Her husband loss consciousness and enough blood to require a transfusion, she said.

High school sweethearts

Derek McMillan has a long recovery ahead. Added to the stress of being shot, his California-based health insurance does not cover out-of-state injuries, the couple said. They have organized a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the mounting medical costs.

The high school sweethearts who have been married for eight of the 15 years they have been together, had not told their children, ages 10 and 5, that he was in the hospital.

“I’ve just been very emotional,” he said. “Just crying and praying because I’ve never been through nothing like this in my life.”

Darshelle McMillan remembers making eye contact with her husband when he told her he was wounded.

“In the midst of all this, my mind just went into action to save my husband,” she said. “But my thought was this, ‘I can’t lose my husband. He’s a full-time dad. He’s with the kids 24/7. He picks them up, he takes them to school, he takes them to parks, libraries, everything.”

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickytwrites.

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