TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama woman and her 8-year-old son were victims early Thursday of a double murder-suicide, authorities said.
The Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office responded at 3 a.m. to a shooting call at Hinton Place in Tuscaloosa. Once there, Capt. Jack Kennedy said witnesses reported Darrin Patton Jr., 34, had possibly shot his girlfriend inside the home during a domestic dispute, al.com reported. Authorities could not contact anyone inside the home so the sheriff’s office tactical unit was called to make entry. Once inside, deputies found Derika Shanice McGhee, 29, and her 8-year-old son, Aiden Carter Williams, both dead.
Patton, who was not the child’s father, also was dead on the scene.
“All signs point to the suspect having killed both victims and then himself,” Kennedy said. “We ask that the privacy of the families involved be respected during this terrible and tragic event.”
McGhee’s cousin, De’Metria Gipson, said the family is devastated by the tragedy.
“Derika and Aiden both will be missed tremendously. Derika could brighten anyone’s mood with her sense of humor and her oh-so-quirky personality,’′ Gipson said.
“Aiden was literally a heaven sent child. He was the most sweetest child you’d ever meet,” she said. “His presence was so calm and loving even if you didn’t know him, you’d want to. And he loved his mommy so much, and he was her everything. I’m happy they’re still together.”
The deaths of McGhee and Aiden are the first two homicides of 2022 in Tuscaloosa County. Last year, the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit investigated 22 homicides countywide. Of those, 19 have been closed by arrest, two are being sent to a grand jury for review of potential charges and one remains open – the slaying of Travoris Sheppard on Oct. 19.