Converse, Texas Residents Still Shaken by Unsolved Murder


May 6, 2024


Law & Justice, News


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(SAN ANTONIO) — Just before 8 p.m. on a Wednesday, 22-year-old Khadija Derry was shot about 12 times while sitting inside her Dodge Charger. On that night, Dec.6, 2023, she was parked on the street outside of her family home in Converse, Texas, a northeastern suburb of San Antonio, after returning from a hair appointment. A neighbor’s surveillance video shows a car driving past Derry and parking before two masked individuals jump out and run toward her. They opened rapid fire on her, then immediately dashed back to their vehicle and drove away. Derry died on the scene. 

Four months passed and still, Derry’s killers have yet to be identified or arrested. 

Khadija Derry and her uncle, Kevin Shandy. [Credit: Kevin Shandy]

Her violent and unsolved killing has scarred her family and the city of Converse, which is populated with only about 30,000 residents. Because the town rarely experiences crime to this degree, residents were shocked. Kevin Shandy, Derry’s uncle, explains how this tragedy has altered his family’s life. 

“We are still in a state of disbelief and shock,” he said. “There have been many sleepless nights. We are deeply hurt and sad. It’s an unexplainable pain.”  

After the shots were fired, Derry’s mother Kuquanda Perkins received a text from a family member saying that Derry’s car was shot multiple times. Panicking, she checked her daughter’s location on her phone and saw she was at home. This provided some relief because she assumed Derry was safe inside and not impacted by the gunshots. After rushing to her home to scope the scene, she found her daughter lying in the street. She was covered in blood and surrounded by paramedics attempting to save her life. 

Perkins became hysterical. She began screaming, bawling, and pleading for Derry to survive.  To the family’s despair, Derry was pronounced dead just a few minutes later. 

Unified Response from the Local Community 

Kristalyn Blaylock, 30, is one of those locals. She did not know Derry personally, but heard about the shooting a few days later and became instantly dismayed. 

“I can’t believe this happened so close to me. And even from the outside looking in, she seemed so happy and full of life,” she said. “She seemed like someone who didn’t have many issues with anybody.” 

On January 7, Derry’s community gathered at Sam Houston High School, where she graduated from in 2020, for a memorial. Her family, friends, coaches, and more wore yellow, Derry’s favorite color, and white. Many brought posters and wore t-shirts stating “#JusticeForDija.” 

Justice for Khadija Derry Facebook group [Credit: Taylore Gills]

During the memorial, 18 of Derry’s family members stood on the school’s front steps and allotted time for people to share memories they created with her. Derry’s aunt, boyfriend, former coach, and more were amongst those individuals. As the final speaker, Perkins further expressed the daily heartache and confusion she endures. She has no clue why someone will attack her daughter. 

“It hurts like hell because I know I have a child that did not deserve to be brutally murdered in the manner that she was,” Perkins said. “The more time we let pass by, the easier it is for them to get away with what they’ve done.” 

To continue as a unified front, one of Derry’s childhood classmates organized a peaceful protest in her honor. On March 29, about 100 people dressed in yellow and white marched from a local McDonald’s to Converse City Hall. The protesters were wearing t-shirts and/or holding posters with Derry’s face on it while shouting, “Justice! Justice! We want Justice!” Others held signs encouraging drivers to honk in support of the cause. Initiatives like these are attended so heavily because Derry was incredibly loved by her community. 

Derry, born and raised in San Antonio, was passionate about her family. She possessed a loving relationship with both of her parents, her five siblings, eight step-siblings, and a host of other family members. Her extreme athleticism carried her far, from receiving multiple basketball awards in high school to a full-ride scholarship to Iowa Western College. By the time she graduated high school, she scored more than 1,000 career points and won Defensive Player of the Year for two consecutive years (2018-2019) and 2019-2020). 

The Unsolved Investigation 

According to Community Crime Map, incidents like these are incredibly rare in Converse. The map displays that the majority of crimes occur within San Antonio city limits. The suburb possesses a crime rate of 2,140 per 100,000 people, and with numbers that low, many Converse residents were stunned that such an atrocity would occur in their neighborhood. In 2023, there were only three recorded homicides in Converse recorded by Community Crime Map. Therefore, residents are eager for answers concerning who did this to Derry and why. 

Post by Rose Luci in Justice for Khadija Derry Facebook group.
[Credit: Taylore Gills]

With her killers still on the loose, the reason for the gory scene on Dec. 6 is still a mystery. The Converse Police Department and Texas Rangers are working together to locate the two masked people who stole Derry’s life.

“This investigation is complex, the investigation is ongoing, we will continue to investigate and will not stop,” Converse Police said in a statement. “The Converse Police Department wants nothing other than to arrest those responsible and to bring what little closure we can to the family.”

Since 2020, Bexar County, where Converse is located, has logged 10 cold cases according to the City of San Antonio. A cold case, according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as an investigation that has stopped being actively pursued by investigators due to a lack of evidence. Derry’s case is not considered cold since investigators are still searching for the killers, but these numbers remain relevant due to the rates at which they occur. Because the rates of murder are so low, Derry’s case truly came as a shock.

Derry’s family members, particularly Perkins and Shandy, call the Converse Police Department to receive updates about the investigation every week.. The officers, however, never provide them with substantial information, they say. 

“Conversations are far and in between,” Shandy said. “We call often for updates and most times we do not get answers or returned calls.”  

The police have been fairly silent since the investigation began in December, and Derry’s family considers the lack of communication disheartening. They believe Derry deserves such a higher level of attention. They loved her tremendously, as her infectious smile brought much joy to their family. 

They are encouraging anyone who knows anything about the shooting to come forward. 

Forever 22 Scholarship 

Perkins is taking steps to keep her spirited daughter’s legacy alive. On Feb. 25, she announced the Forever 22 scholarship, available to senior athletes at Sam Houston. The scholarship is in honor of Derry and her best friend and track teammate, Aujayna Williams, who also died in San Antonio just 31 days before her. Her death was ruled a suicide, leading some to believe that the two incidents were not connected. During the promotional video, Perkins and William’s mother, LoShunda Johnson, expressed that they are seeking donations to supply the scholarship and encouraging student-athletes to apply. 

“If you feel like you meet our criteria, if you feel like you have the grit, and you’re that dog like Khadija and Aujanay were, apply for the scholarship,” Perkins said. “We’re here. We want to help. We encourage you to be the best you that you can be.”  

The awards will be presented at Sam Houston’s athletic banquet in May. 

Justice for Khadija Derry Facebook Group 

In addition to the memorial scholarship, Derry’s loved ones also created a Facebook group entitled Justice for Khadija Derry. The page was created in early January and currently has more than 4,700 followers from across the world. Averaging about nine posts a week, individuals share their grief, advocate for justice, or inquire about the progress (or lack of it) being made by Converse police.

Rose Luci, a member of the Facebook group since January, supports the cause even though she never knew Derry personally. She lives in the United Kingdom and initially heard of the tragedy on another Facebook page. Enthralled, she joined the virtual community and began to post weekly. In one of her recent posts, she informed others on how to continue spreading awareness about the case.

Luci has shared Derry’s story with her fellow community members in Kent, recognizing the widespread attention it deserves. 

“My friends here in the UK talk about the page and Khadija and have joined it too,” Luci told The Click. “Also, having a page lets others know that we will not give up the fight for justice.”

Childhood Memories

Michaela Marin, 24, a childhood friend and member of the  Justice for Khadija Derry Facebook group, has fond memories of growing up with Derry. Their families were both members of Lilly of the Valley Missionary Baptist Church on San Antonio’s Eastside. 

Khadija Derry and Michaela Marin at Khadija’s birthday party when they were younger. [Credit: Michaela Marin]

“Since Khadija was a few years younger than me, she approached me at church in a sweet and shy way,” Marin said. “She was full of personality that poured out as she grew up, but as a little girl I remember her being very meek.” 

They were both members of the church’s dance team for about four years until Marin’s family moved churches. The friends stayed in touch throughout high school and were supportive of each other. When Marin received the news of Derry’s death on social media, she simply could not believe her eyes. 

“I went into my mom’s bedroom and told her Khadija had been shot,” Marin said. “My mom’s eyes swelled as she cried out, ‘Oh my God, Nikki,’ showing sorrow for Khadija’s mother.”

Marin and more than 900 others wearing yellow and white attended Derry’s funeral on Dec. 21 at Agape Christian Church. Alongside her crisp white casket were plants and flowers in the same color scheme. In front of the casket were Derry’s basketball and track jerseys from high school were placed in front of the casket.

Future Plans in Derry’s Honor 

Despite the agony they face knowing Derry’s killers are free, the family is fully committed to continuing their pursuit of justice. At San Antonio’s 2024 Juneteenth parade, they will be marching to bring awareness to the unsolved case. 

Derry’s birthday was in November, and according to her uncle, she always wanted to throw a “sneaker ball” where everyone wore spectacular tennis shoes. They will be having one in her honor this year. Shady will even be turning his birthday celebration into a fundraiser entitled “Kicks & Karaoke.” Through these events and more, Derry’s community will continue to unite under one common purpose. 

“Our main focus is to keep her name alive,” Shandy said. “We are committed to doing that.”

“It could’ve been your daughter. It could’ve been your granddaughter, your sister, your brother, your loved one,” Perkins said. “But instead, it was ours.” 

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