Skip to main content

‘This was not a random act’: Person of interest in custody after Detroit neurosurgeon found shot in head and wrapped in blanket

Dr. Devon Hoover

Dr. Devon Hoover (L), the Boston-Edison home where the neurosurgeon was found dead (images via WDIV screengrabs)

The investigation into the death of beloved neurosurgeon in Detroit, Michigan, has a person of interest in custody, the Detroit Police Department has confirmed.

Dr. Devon Alan Hoover, 53, was found shot multiple times in the head and wrapped in a blanket in an attic crawl space at his Boston-Edison home on April 23, two Sundays ago. On Friday, Detroit Police Chief James White said that police took a person of interest in the case into custody on an unrelated warrant. White was careful not to get into specifics — whether on the person of interest’s name or the nature of the unrelated warrant — so as not to jeopardize prosecutors’ murder case. But the police chief did say investigators are confident the person of interest “knows something about what occurred” and that the killing was committed by someone Hoover knew.

“This was not a random act,” Chief White told reporters Friday, after reports said there were no signs of forced entry at the crime scene.

Cops went to the home on the 100 block of W. Boston Blvd after receiving a call from a member of Hoover’s family, when the doctor did not show up at event he was supposed to attend, the police chief said.

Chief White responded to more detailed questions from reporters by acknowledging that police have “some theories.” He stopped short of answering certain questions, though, because he didn’t want to be “irresponsible” amid the ongoing investigation. The chief said the department is “working very hard” on the case and added he is “careful but confident” in what investigators have learned so far.

Detroit Police Chief James White

Detroit Police Chief James White addressed reporters Friday, April 28, on Dr. Devon Hoover murder investigation.

The chief said that the case poses no threat to the broader public.

“We’re confident that the person has information on what transpired,” he said, adding: “Right now, though, we are happy to have a person of interest who we could question. We are confident as a police agency that this person knows something about what occurred.”

A “find a doctor” page that appeared on Ascension Michigan’s website said that Hoover was a “board certified neurosurgeon and has a special interest in the treatment of neck and back disorders.”

“He completed his medical training at Indiana University School of Medicine, and his residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit,” the brief biography said. “He also completed fellowships, one in peripheral nerve surgery at Louisiana State University School of Medicine with Dr. David Kline, and one in Pediatric Neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital of Michigan with pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Alexa Canady.”

The doctor was highly respected by his peers, according to Hour Detroit magazine’s 2008 “Top Docs” rankings, which nominated Hoover as among the best in his field.

Hoover’s funeral was held Sunday at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit. WDIV reported that the funeral took place a matter of hours after the doctor’s home was been broken into in a separate unsolved incident over the weekend.

The Indiana-born neurosurgeon’s obituary said that Hoover, an uncle to “many” nieces and nephews, was one of seven children and had six sisters. His mother Lauretta died four days after his murder, the obit said.

“Devon was the fourth child of seven and the middle member of what the family affectionately called ‘the three little ones.’ He took initiative in this little group, planning their pretend games and determining the rules that governed their play. Games of Monopoly went on for days as he kept suggesting new rules to extend the game and helped negotiate bank loans for struggling players. His early life was not all play and included plenty of manual labor,” the obituary said. “Until he left for college, Devon worked on the family dairy farm — milking the cows, planting and harvesting crops, and doing many other chores alongside the rest of the family.”

Hoover’s family said that the doctor also loved the home where their loved one was found dead.

“Since he purchased the home in 2008, he had been steadily transforming it room by room with period decor and carefully selected antiques. He was essentially the curator of his own museum, which he loved sharing with friends, family, and visitors,” the obituary said.

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime:

Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.