A kind Tucsonan with a big heart has helped the family of murder victim Derreck Burruss, 16, remain in its home.
Gail Leland, director of the nonprofit Homicide Survivors, was the host of a presentation ceremony Thursday at which Morgan Hunter gave Lakia Culver, Burruss’ mother, a check for $2,200.
The family’s home was heading for foreclosure because Culver hadn’t been able to work for several months after her son was shot on his way home from a watching a movie at Park Place on Jan. 5, 2008.
Hunter decided to help after reading about the killing and the family’s struggle to keep its home a year after the boy’s death.
“She was just incapacitated for several months,” Hunter said of Lakia Culver.
The retired University of California administrator prepared “a little document” he and his wife Sharon gave to neighbors at Heritage Highlands, a retirement community in Marana.
Forty residents donated the $2,200, Hunter said.
“The thing that really impressed me was this is a family trying to keep it together. They just needed somebody to step up and help them,” he said.
“It gave Lakia the spark of knowing somebody cared.”