Not long after two adults made sexual abuse allegations against him, a veteran Los Angeles Police Department detective, while sitting in his parked car in a Palmdale parking lot, put a gun to his head, pulled the trigger, and killed himself.
Fifty-two-year-old Dennis Derr spent the last 17 years of his life with the LAPD, in which part of that time he investigated sexual assault cases. According to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau, two of his relatives accused Derr of molesting them.
The Los Angeles Times reported that bureau sergeant, Brian Hudson, explained that they were in the early stages of the investigation and that there have been no other molestation allegations made against Derr.
The detective’s son, Phillip Der, said in an interview that two relatives allege that they were molested by Derr when they were teenagers. Although one of the accusers could remember only one incident of sexual abuse, the other charged that Derr abused him repeatedly.
The two accusers informed Derr’s wife about the alleged molestations, Peter Derr said. She left a note to her husband while he was sleeping that acknowledged that the two relatives told her about their claims. She then left their Acton home. The next morning, Thanksgiving day, Derr sent off a cryptic email which Philip read, alluding to a denial of “sexual failure'” and that he was going to kill himself.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were notified by Phillip immediately and a few hours later they found Derr dead in his car at a Walmart parking lot.
Although Derr had spent the last few years working theft cases, his son remembers his father’s disdain for sexual assault perpetrators. “He would talk about how much he hated the people who did this sort of thing,” Philip said.
Phillip also recounted that his Dad served as a pastor or bible study teacher at two separate churches.