RaeSheed DeShields brought his friend to the Christiana Hospital emergency room on Jan. 12, 2021, with a bullet lodged in his neck.
Court records show that DeShields, 19 years old at the time, had driven his friend and three others to the hospital from Christiana Mall in his silver Hyundai Genesis.
He initially told police that his friend was hit by a stray bullet outside a nearby apartment complex when an argument by a group of strangers escalated into a shooting, documents show. But when police looked at mall security footage, they saw that the Genesis never left the parking lot until DeShields drove it to the hospital.
They also found a bullet hole in the back of the driver’s seat.
Eventually, the story came out, records show.
DeShields, seated behind his friend in the car, was showing him a gun when he accidentally dropped it. He “began fumbling with it,” court documents state, and a single shot went off, hitting his friend in the upper back and traveling up towards his spine and neck. DeShields then moved his friend over to the passenger seat before heading to the hospital.
Police later found the handgun in the back of DeShields’ friend’s rental car, which was still parked outside Christiana Mall, according to court documents. Officers also reported a single unfired bullet on the concrete a few spaces away from where the Genesis was parked.
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On June 3, DeShields was sentenced by New Castle County Superior Court to two years in prison, the mandatory minimum for his two felony charges of first-degree assault and having a gun while committing a felony.
During the sentencing, Deputy Attorney General William Leonard called the incident “a recipe for disaster.”
DeShields and his friends were high at the time of the “senseless act,” Leonard said. He also noted the “devastating consequences” that the shooting has had on his friend and his respective family – the bullet fractured some of the vertebrae in his lower neck, prompting his friend to face lasting health issues.
Although his friend was expected to make a victim impact statement at the sentencing, he chose not to appear. Part of DeShields’ sentence includes no contact with the shooting victim, as well as mandatory substance abuse treatment.
DeShields, who has known his friend since 8th grade, said at the sentencing that he thinks of him “as if he was one of (his) biological brothers.”
“He knows I’m not a violent person at all,” DeShields said.
It was clear that DeShields was still “pained” by what happened, the judge said, and did not need to serve longer than the mandatory minimum sentence.
“I just want to go home and take care of my son,” DeShields said.
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