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Man arrested in cousin's slaying is Army vet, may have PTSD, family reported

Darrell Leon Gadson, 38, is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Diquan Mills.
Darrell Leon Gadson, 38, is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Diquan Mills.
Published Jan. 26, 2017

TAMPA — Darrell Leon Gadson's mother was concerned about her grown son's "erratic" behavior Monday morning, a detective reported.

The 38-year-old had recently moved back to her country ranch home in Thonotosassa and was going through a divorce. Family members feared the Army veteran could be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

So Marilyn Gadson, a registered nurse, asked her son's brother and cousin to visit the house at 9862 Timmons Road and talk to him.

They had just arrived and were sitting in the living room when Darrell Gadson came out of his bedroom with a gun, approached his 23-year-old cousin sitting on the couch and fired a fatal shot through his head, according to a report from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Diquan Mills died about 11:50 a.m., the report said.

Darrell Gadson waited outside, crouched on the driveway, as his brother, Jeffree Gadson, called deputies to the home and hid outside until they arrived. The veteran did not provide any statements to law enforcement as he was placed in handcuffs and arrested on a charge of second-degree murder, his arrest report says.

"The defendant pointed a loaded firearm at the victim and pulled the trigger, which is an act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life," a detective wrote in his arrest report.

Neither Darrell Gadson nor Mills has a prior criminal record. As sheriff's deputies waited to obtain a search warrant to enter the home Monday afternoon, family parked their cars just outside caution tape blocking the end of Timmons Road. Some stood silently together, quietly deflecting reporters' questions as they waited for news, while others sat in their vehicles and wept.

A search warrant led to discovery of a .45-caliber Winchester casing in the living room and a black .45-caliber handgun in a Toyota parked beside Darrell Gadson, according to reports.

Gadson's wife filed for divorce Dec. 1 in Westhope, N.D., and a judgment was entered Dec. 28. Just Friday, his response to a child support questionnaire was filed with the court.

Times senior news researcher John Martin and staff writer Howard Altman contributed to this report. Contact Anastasia Dawson at adawson@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3377. Follow @adawsonwrites.