Derick Lamont Brown, the man who shot a Dallas paramedic Monday while he was responding to a call for help, is the national head the New Black Panthers’ armed militia. He was an advocate for Black Panther members to open carry guns, and had previously called for violence against the government.
Brown, 36, shot and killed his roommate Monday, then shot and critically wounded a neighbor. When 911 was called to help the injured neighbor, Brown opened fire on William An, the Dallas Fire-Rescue paramedic who had arrived to help. Brown was later found dead by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The suspect in the shooting of a Dallas paramedic was the national minister of defense for the New Black Panther Party and once served as the chairman of that organization. On Tuesday, the FBI confirmed it was investigating Brown before Monday’s shooting but will not say why there was an active investigation.
NBC 5 Investigates has learned Brown served as the national military commander for the New Black Panther Party, a group that’s been on the radar for federal and local law enforcement.
Videos and photos on Facebook highlight Brown’s role as a leader for the group, where he was also known as D.K. Egun Yomi or “Brotha DK.” In a 2014 video posted on YouTube, he’s seen marching with a rifle at a protest over the death of a black man in East Texas.
“Mr. Brown is well known to state and local law enforcement,” said Eric Jackson, special agent in charge of the FBI office in Dallas. Jackson would not provide details on the FBI’s investigation into Brown.
“Because of this being an open and active investigation we are not at liberty to discuss the nature of that investigation,” said Jackson.
Brown was also a member of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club – a Dallas-based black nationalist group which conducts paramilitary training and advocates the open carry of firearms.
The national head of that club, Babu Omowale, described Brown as a tough guy who was in charge of training the militia portion of the organization.
Omowale said both groups are aware the FBI keeps tabs on them, but he does not believe Monday’s shooting had anything to do with the Panthers or the gun club. “As a group we didn’t have any involvement in the incident. We would never give the go-ahead for such a malicious act,” said Omowale.
It’s unclear whether the FBI’s ongoing investigating into Brown was part of any wider investigation of black separatists groups
The national spokesman for the New Black Panther Party, Quanell X, told NBC 5 Investigates his group has no comment on what happened in Dallas on Monday.
Heavy.com reports that Brown had a history of breaking the law and advocating violence against the government.
Court records obtained by WFAA 8 showed that Brown once faced an assault charge, multiple DWIs and gun offenses.
In 2008, Brown was apparently involved in a car accident in Dallas. When officers approached him, Brown said, “I’m high and I have a gun.” He was arrested and charged with felony possession of PCP and later pleaded guilty, getting two years probation.
In 2015, Brown got a concealed carry license in Florida, the same year he was involved in another car accident in Dallas. When officers approached his car this time, they said that they saw Brown “holding a loaded magazine” in one hand and a 9-millimeter semi-automatic handgun in the other, a criminal complaint obtained by WFAA said.
When officers approached his vehicle, they smelled what resembled PCP, and he was arrested for being under the influence of a narcotic in addition to an unlawful carry of a weapon by a license holder charge.
In the early 2000s, he was the chairman of the New Black Panther Party in Dallas. The Morning News interviewed Brown in 2004 when he was working in the capacity. He implored residents to stand up to police and fight back.
“We’re willing to defend by any cause and every cause,” he said in the article. “If that takes fighting back, Lord have mercy for me on what should happen on the streets, but I’m willing.”
Paramedic William An remains in critical condition in Dallas.