Dedrick D. Gobert
The Boyz n the Hood Actor
Dedrick D. Gobert – Boyz n the Hood 30th Anniversary Case File
Dedrick D Gobert
Dedrick D Gobert, Best remembered for his brief but memorable role in John Singleton’s 1990’s crime drama film Boyz n the Hood, Dedrick D. Gobert played the character Dooky, the wise-cracking friend to Tre Styles and member of Doughboy’s Crip gang. Although his role was small, his portrayal is notable for his sucking on an ever-present pacifier, something he is often cited as the originator of the pacifier trend that would become popular among teenagers and young adults during the early 1990’s.
Gobert began his brief acting career, which spanned over four years, by starring in several commercials but would later appear in three films, all of which were written and directed by John Singleton. Much like his on-screen co-star Lloyd Avery II, his life was senselessly cut-short, and he died just days before turning twenty-three. Gobert was killed in a fight over a weekend drag-race, gunned down along with a friend during an argument with several Blood gang members in Mira Loma, California.
On the day of his death, Gobert or “V Dub”, as he was known to friends and acquaintances, had been attending an illegal drag race with several others including his girlfriend. Newspaper articles at the time record that he died from a gang-related shooting, however it is unknown if Gobert, an up-and-coming actor, had ever affiliated with gang members in the past. According to police sources, the perpetrators fled the scene of the crime in a 1993 or 1994 Honda Prelude.
Gobert grew up under his mother’s care, and Carolyn Gobert described her son as a friendly person, who liked to joke with people and make them laugh. One incident from his past would seem to indicate that despite his comical nature, he was capable of violence. On August 6, 1989, Craig Netherly went to Gobert’s house to resolve a dispute. Netherly and Gobert had grown up in the same neighbourhood, and when he exited the residence as Netherly arrived, the teenaged Gobert was holding a handgun.
He and Netherly argued, and at one point, Gobert said, “Fuck this” and fired one shot at Netherly, which missed. Later, Netherley could recall little of the incident, or what started the dispute, beyond the fact that it involved an argument between Gobert and Netherly’s stepdaughter. At the time of the incident, Gobert was 17-years-old and Netherly was 19. Netherly reported the incident to Los Angeles Police officer Frank Epstein, but it is unknown if any further action was taken against Gobert.
Gobert starring as Dooky in Boyz n the Hood (1990)
When John Singleton started the casting process for his feature directorial debut crime drama entitled Boyz n the Hood, a coming-of-age story that was based on his own life and the people he knew growing up, he intended to star mostly locals, in order to keep a sense of realism. His project depicted gang culture and the lives of three young African-American’s growing up in South Central Los Angeles.
Filmed on location between October to November 1990, the cast starred Cuba Gooding Jr and Ice Cube as the lead roles of Tre Styles and Darren “Doughboy” Baker, two school friends who would both take different paths in life. Styles would grow up under the influence of his father Furious, who wanted to instill in him some valuable life lessons, while Darren becomes a Crips gang member, serving time in jail for petty gang and drug-related crimes.
In one of the most poignant scenes in the film, Doughboy’s brother Ricky, played Morris Chestnut, is running away with Gooding’s Tre Styles when he gunned down by a gang member. This iconic scene, where Lloyd Avery II‘s gun toting Knuckehead #2 leans out of the window of a red 1988 Hyundai Excel, and blasts Ricky. This scene would be a turning point for Avery, who would go on to become a real-life Blood gangster, which ultimately led to his own death.
Born as Dedrick Dwayne Fontenot on November 25, 1971, in Shreveport, Louisiana, Gobert met Singleton, an Inglewood native, when he worked at the post office and had to drive mail from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, during which he would sometimes bring girls along with him. The two struck up a friendship, and when Singleton had written the script for Boyz n the Hood, he offered Gobert the supporting part of “Dooky”, a childhood friend and member of Doughboy’s Crips gang.
Gobert’s portrayal of Dooky is best remembered for his iconic pacifier, which his character used throughout the whole movie. Dooky’s use of a pacifier has been cited as igniting the trend that would become popular with teenagers and young adults during that time, while others believe Flavor Flav, who wore one around his neck in a Public Enemy video, was the true originator. Gobert had actually sucked on pacifiers in real life in an effort to quit smoking. Writer/director John Singleton thought it was so cool that he decided to use it in the film.
His supporting role in Boyz was the start of his theatrical acting career. The film would prove to be both a financial and critical success, and was praised for it’s emotional acting and powerful writing. At the 64th Academy Awards, it was nominated for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, making Singleton the youngest person and the first African-American to be nominated for Best Director.
Dedrick D Gobert Starring in Poetic Justice
During the editing process for Boyz, Singleton started writing the draft script for a movie he called Poetic Justice. This movie, starring Janet Jackson as Justice, is about a young woman who decides to become a hairdresser after witnessing the murder of her first and only boyfriend. She copes with her depression by writing poetry, and strikes up a friendship with Lucky, played by Tupac Shakur.
The plot of the 1993 movie was based on Tupac’s brief romance with Ann Marie Rose, with whom he had struck up a relationship in between takes on the set of the film Juice, in which he starred. Rose was an aspiring poet who frequented the Brooklyn Moon café in Greene, Brooklyn, while studying at Brooklyn College, and was known for her trademark braids. Once again, Singleton used some of the same actors he had cast in Boyz, including his friend Gobert.
Starring alongside Regina King, Lloyd Avery II, Tyra Ferrell and John Cothran, all of whom had appeared with him in Singleton’s Boyz, Gobert was cast in the small role of Lloyd. The film would go on to reach No.1 in the US box office on its opening weekend, and for her role, Jackson received an Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for her song “Again”, which also reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Despite it’s mixed reviews from critics, it would go on to gain a cult following.
With two acting credits under his belt, Gobert would star in what would be his last role in Singleton’s 1995 crime drama Higher Learning, that follows the changing lives of three incoming freshmen at the fictional Columbus University. Starring alongside his Boyz co-stars Regina King, Ice Cube and Laurence Fishburne, the latter two would both be nominated for outstanding actor in a motion picture, for which Fishburne would win.
Gobert played the role of Fudge’s Homie one of Ice Cube’s friends, but he would never see the finished film, which was released in September 1995, almost a year after his tragic death. Around this time, the 22-year-old Gobert began dating 16-year-old Jenny Hyon, who was with him on the night of his murder. Just six days before his 23rd birthday, Gobert would become involved in a argument that would cost him his life.
Dedrick Gobert Death at Mira Loma
During the early morning hours of November 19, 1994, Gobert, along with Hyon and his friend, 19-year-old Ignacio Hernandez, of Rosemead, along with their friends Christine Maile Gilleres and Herman Flores and a group of others, attended an illegal street race in the area of Etiwanda Avenue in Mirra Loma, California. Both Gobert and Hernandez participated in the races, with Gobert driving his Volkwagon Rabbit, and Hernandez in a Honda Del Sol.
During a race that Hernandez participated in, another vehicle pulled in front of him, which caused him to brake to avoid a collision. He then got out of his car and began arguing with the driver of the car that had cut him off. The two men started a physical fight, but then the other driver ran to a nearby group of about ten people, who were also described as Latino, and they proceeded to surround Hernandez and started fighting him.
When sirens started sounding, Hernandez and his friends, including Gobert, ran to their cars, drove to Etiwanda Avenue and parked on the street in front of a pizza parlor. Hernandez drove with Hyon in his black Honda, while Gilleres and Flores rode with Gobert. They became separated from their other friends and got out to see if they could see them. At this point they saw the other Latino group which had been fighting with Hernandez.
This group approached and began yelling at Hernandez, and his group responded in kind. During this verbal argument, one member of the Latino gang pulled what was described as a silver-chrome handgun and pointed it at Hyon. Gilleres later testified it was pointed directly at her forehead, while Hyon herself said it was pointed at the group as a whole. When she yelled at the gunman, an older member of the Latino group said something to the gunman, who placed the gun back inside his pocket.
The hostile group then walked away. That same night, several members and associates of this criminal street gang, known as the Akrho Boyz Crazzy or ABC, including Eric Garcia, Roger Boring, Lester Maliwat and Sonny Enraca, had also attended the races. This gang was affiliated with the Bloods, who used hand signs to both identify themselves and warn off rivals, and was violently territorial.
Earlier that evening, the gang members had met at Borings house and they drove several cars in the races. Enraca, carrying a snub-nosed revolver, rode with Maliwat. When the sirens sounded, the ABC gang members parked in and around the pizza parlor on Etiwanda, and several of the gang members gathered in the pizza parlor parking lots and against the wall facing Etiwanda Avenue.
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At some point Roger Boring noticed Dedrick Gobert and Judy Hyon walking back and forth, and as they did they were talking about the earlier gang they encountered. Gobert, Hyon, Gilleres, Hernandez and Flores then decided that their other friends must have left, and they decided to leave too. Before they did, Gobert got into his Volkswagen and drove up and down Etiwanda, before pulling back in behind Hernandez’s car.
Gilleres later said that she believed Gobert was taking one last look around for their other friends before leaving. Boring also saw Gobert drive off in his car and return. He later described how Gobert slammed on his brakes when stopping in front of the ABC group. Maliwat testified that he saw Gobert circle the block in his car, and said he looked at the ABC group in what he believed was “the wrong way.”
Gilleres said she noticed the ABC gang members, that they were dressed in red, a Blood gang colour, and heard some of them say, “Blood, Blood, Blood” in their conversations while looking over at her group. She said she warned Gobert about this, but he approached the ABC gang members anyway. Gobert said to them, “What’s up, cuz?” and “Fuck Bloods,” “Fuck Slobs,” and claimed to be a Mafia Crips member. He also raised his arms and made a Crip gang hand sign.
The things Gobert said were an insult to a Blood gang like ABC, and some of the gang members responded by saying, “What’s up Blood,” an insult to a Crip gang member. Garden Grove Police officer Michael Martin, a former gang officer with expertise in gangs and gang culture, was familiar with the ABC gang, which had originated in Orange county in 1988-1989. According to Martin, the insults from Gobert required the ABC Blood gang to beat him down in order to maintain respect.
Martin explains that such a beat down would be for the benefit of, in association with, and at the behest of the gang. Gilleres testified that the ABC gang members rushed Gobert before he was able to put his hands down and began beating him. Both Maliwat and Boring testified that their fellow ABC gang members thought it was humorous that Gobert would insult such a large group of Bloods, and laughed at him.
Boring added that Gobert appeared intoxicated because he zig-zagged on his feet. Hyon and Gilleres believed that Gobert had drank most of a 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor while at the races, but said he drank nothing before that. A 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor was later found near the pizza parlor by Riverside County Sheriff’s Detective Eric Spidle, it contained 2 ounces of liquid.
Both Boring and Maliwat would claim that Gobert was rushed by the gang members when he responded to the gang’s insults by reaching under his shirt, as though he was packing a gun. The gang, around 15 to 20 strong, began hitting and kicking Gobert. Gilleres, Hernandez and Hyon rushed in, shouting “Stop it. That’s enough,” and tried to help Gobert. As the fighting carried on, the warring groups of people backed across the northbound lanes, over the centre Median, and in to the southbound lanes of Etiwanda.
It was here where Gobert ended up on the ground, being kicked, hit and stomped. Hernandez attempted to free Gobert by pulling people away, and had gotten on top of Gobert to protect him. At that moment, Claudio Hortea, one of ABC gang members, kicked Hernandez in the head. Gilleres forced her way into the crowd, and saw Gobert and Hernandez being attacked. She got on top of Hernandez, trying to protect him, and was kicked in the face, ending up stunned on the ground.
Thinking that the fight was over, Boring began walking back to the cars, while Maliwat, having been knocked down by Hernandez, and also thinking the fight had finished, heard someone say something about a gun, and he ran. As Gilleres staggered to her feet, she heard 2 to 3 gunshots, and then everyone began running. Hyon was outside the circle of people fighting, when she heard the shots.
Boring testified that he looked back before any shots were fired, and he saw Sonny Enraca grab Hernandez by the head or shoulder, raise his upper body and shoot Hernandez. Enraca then stood over Gobert, pointed the gun, and shot him. After shooting Gobert and Hernandez, Boring saw a woman approach Enraca and push or kick him from behind. Enraca then turned and fired a shot at her. This woman was Jenny Hyon.
Maliwat said when he got to his car he turned back and saw Enraca fire at Gobert and Hernandez. Maliwat then quickly got in his car and as he pulled out of the parking lot and onto Etiwanda, Enraca got in. Maliwat could see a woman lying on the ground in an awkward position and asked Enraca why he shot the girl. Enraca replied, “Fuck them. They deserved it.” As Maliwat drove away from the area, Enraca took the expended shells from the revolver and threw them out of the car window.
Eric Garcia, another of the ABC gang members, had stayed in the car he rode in and was listening to the radio, but got out when he was told about the fight. As he walked through the parking lot toward the street, he said he saw the fight in which the ABC gang heavily outnumbered their opponents. Before reaching the street, he heard two or three gunshots and saw everyone had started running away. Garcia then ran back to the car and drove away.
Garica stopped at a nearby Denny’s restaurant, where he learned from Claudio that Enraca had been the one doing the shooting. After leaving the restaurant, Garcia went to Borings house where he confronted Enraca, who at first refused to answer Garcia’s knock on Enraca’s bedroom door. When he asked Sonny what happened and why he shot the girl, Enraca became angry and the two men got into a pushing match. Finally, Enraca told him, “Maybe they deserved it.”
Garcia said he asked Enraca to hand over the gun, Enraca refused, and Garcia went outside. As he came outside, Enraca asked Garcia to take the gun, which he did, and kept it in his closet for a few days until Enraca came by asking for it and took it back. Back at the pizza parlor parking lot, Sheriff’s deputies began arriving on at the scene of the shooting at around 2:20am, and found Gobert and Hernandez dead in the roadway on Etiwanda Avenue.
The Aftermath Of Dedrick D Goberts Shooting
Jenny Hyon was still alive, but was lying on the roadway and was falling in and out of consciousness. She had a bullet wound to the right side of her neck and was immediately transported to hospital. During surgery, a bullet was removed, however, she remained paralyzed from the neck down, with some movement in her left arm, but only “a little bit” of movement in her right. From the wound, doctors removed a damaged .38 bullet.
This bullet had marks consistent with “slippage”, distortion in the rifling impressions, which indicated it could have been fired from a revolver, but it is possible to get slippage from a semiautomatic. However, forensic officers could find no .38 shell casings at the Etiwanda crime scene, or around the deceased victims bodies.
The forensic pathologist conducting the autopsies of Gobert and Hernandez, Dr. Darryl Garber, recorded that he observed external trauma on both victims which was consistent with having been caused during a fight. Hernandez had suffered two gunshot wounds which caused his death. The entrance wound of the first gunshot was located to the left rear of his head, above and behind the left ear. The bullet fragmented, and a portion was lodged under the skin at the entrance wound.
The other part of the bullet had travelled through Hernandez’s brain, and lodged under the skin on the forehead. The failure of the bullet to exit through the skin, as well as an abrasion on the skin overlaying the lodged bulled, indicated that Hernandez’s head was resting against a very hard surface, such as the ground, at the moment the bullet was fired. The second bullet had entered Hernandez’s left back, travelled through the lower and upper left lung, perforated the heart and right lung, then stopped in the muscles of the right front chest.
Dedrick D. Gobert had suffered a single gunshot wound located on the right rear of his head, above and behind his right ear, which was the cause of his death. The bullet had become fragmented and lodged in his brain. These wounds were not contact wounds, but had been fired from a minimum distance of one-and-a-half to two feet away. The day after the shootings, Enraca reportedly told Boring that he was going to turn himself in, saying that he would be found sooner or later.
The Arrest and Confession of Sonny Enraca
Acting on information provided by witness Claudio Hortea, police arrested 22-year-old Sonny Enraca on December 12, 1994. Enraca was interviewed by Riverside Sheriff’s Detective John Schultz, which was tape-recorded and later played to the jury. Enraca denied any involvement in the shootings, claiming he had spent the evening watching movies with his girlfriend, and reiterated that he had not left the house all night.
Schultz told Enraca that several of his friends had disputed his alibi, and that there were witnesses who identified him as the shooter. The interview ended when Enraca asked for a lawyer. As detective Schultz prepared paperwork, he turned Enraca over to Detective Eric Spindle for the pre-booking process, during which he was fingerprinted and photographed, then allowed to call his girlfriend.
While Spindle filled out the booking form, Enraca asked when he would get a lawyer, and Spindle explained the charging and arraignment process to him, including appointment of counsel. While he continued to fill out forms, Enraca asked Spindle if a reward had been offered for the perpetrator of the shooting, to which Spindle told him he wasn’t aware of any reward. Enraca then said he understood that one had been offered, Spindle told him that people will come forward with information with or without a reward.
At that point Enraca said, “It’s not how it went down.” Detective Spindle tried to put Enraca off, by saying that different people see things differently, and went back to the booking form. Enraca then said that no one has honor or respect anymore, to which Spindle agreed. He put his head down and said, “That’s the way it is nowadays.” At this point, Spindle reminded Enraca that he had asked for a lawyer, so the Detective could not ask him questions, and Enraca replied, “Well, what if I say what happened?”
In response, Spindle told Enraca that he would get a tape recorder and let him talk, but that he couldn’t ask questions unless Enraca wanted him to. When asked if he wanted to make a statement on tape, Enraca said he did not want to implicate anyone but himself. When reminded again that Spindle could not ask questions unless he Enraca wanted him to, Enraca said he did. With that, Spindle obtained a tape recorder and recorded Enraca.
He began by saying, “I did this”, and went to say he did not want to involve anyone else. He said he had been carrying a gun after a friend had previously been shot in a gang-related incident and said he advised his friend to report it to the police. Enraca said after the ABC gang meeting, he went with his fellow gang members to the races and rode along with Lester Maliwat. For protection, he brought his gun along.
Enraca said he had drunk alcohol before leaving, and he was “coming down,” from “using speed.” He described the night of the shooting, explaining that they parked on the opposite side of the street from the gas station and he walked across the street to talk to a friend. At that moment, he saw Dedrich D. Gobert drive up fast, like he was angry, take something out of his car, and then walk towards Roger Boring while doing something with his belt.
It appeared to the ABC gang that he had a gun, and then Gobert claimed he belonged to a Crip gang, and when Enraca’s group started laughing at him, Gobert began insulting them. He said Roger responded with an insult, and Enraca told him to “kick back.” Enraca said he thought Gobert had mistaken them for another Asian group, and said Hernandez, Gilleres and Hyon were by the car and that Hyon said, “that’s not them.”
Enraca said he saw Gobert reaching, then someone shouted “He’s reaching!,” and one of the ABC gang punched Gobert. When Gobert grabbed the person who punched him, Enraca said everyone in his group rushed in, along with Hernandez, Gilleres and Hyon. As the fight moved across the street, Enraca said he tried to break it up. At one point Gobert was knocked to the ground, and Hernandez was covering him.
Intending to break up the fight, Enraca pulled his gun to shoot in the air, but said he thought he recognized Hernandez, so grabbed him by the hair and lifted his face, asking him where he was from. He said Hernandez then hit his hand. At the trial, it was revealed that a fist-sized clump of what was described as “black, kinky hair,” was located on the street at the scene of the shooting, a few feet away from the bodies.
The clump was matted and all but four of the hairs were torn or broken and without roots, which had not been shed. In the opinion of Marianne Stam, a criminalist with the California Department of Justice, the hair had been forcibly removed and were consistent with hair samples collected during the autopsy of Dedrick D. Gobert.
Enraca said he believed that Hernandez was going to grab Gobert’s gun, so he shot Hernandez in the shoulder. Then Hernandez leaned over and, thinking he was going to shoot him, Enraca shot Hernandez again. He said Gobert looked at him, said “fuck you asshole,” and began pushing Hernandez off of him. Enraca said he thought Gobert was going for his own gun, and so shot him. As he turned, Jenny Hyon pushed him and came at him. He said he raised his gun, hoping to scare her, waved his other hand at her and backed up. When Hyon charged him again, he said he pulled the trigger, thinking he was firing over her head.