Detroit neurosurgeon shot twice in the head from behind, autopsy finds

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — A 53-year-old neurosurgeon was shot twice in the back of the head before his body, naked other than a sock on the right foot, was "covered with a comforter, sheet and rug," and entombed in an upper crawlspace of his spacious Detroit home, according to autopsy results released Wednesday.

Dr. Devon Hoover's body was discovered April 23 by Detroit police officers who were performing a welfare check at his home in the 100 block of the city's historic Boston-Edison district, where he reportedly lived alone.

"The decedent was found nude and prone in a crawlspace in his home covered with a comforter, sheet and rug. ... clothing consisted of a sock on the right foot," according to a Wayne County Medical Examiner's autopsy report that ruled Hoover's death a homicide.

Immediately after the discovery of Hoover's body, Detroit Police Chief James White said the killing was not random, and that the assailant and victim knew each other. The chief did not elaborate. Five days after police initiated the investigation, a person of interest was picked up for questioning, although the man was released three days later.

On Tuesday, the Detroit Police Department offered a $1,000 reward leading to an arrest in the doctor's shooting death through the city's DetroitRewards.TV program.

According to the autopsy performed by Assistant Wayne County Medical Examiner Leigh Hlavaty the same day Hoover's body was found, the doctor had been shot twice from behind.

"The decedent was shot first behind the right ear and then sustained the contact shot on the back of the head," the report said. "The abrasions indicate that he was face-down with his left lower face against a firm surface for at least one of the gunshot wounds, and that his body was dragged in the prone position after his death."

"Fingernail clippings and samples for a rape kit were obtained and retained," the report said.

Hoover, a neurosurgeon at Ascension Healthcare, which operates St. John Hospital in Detroit, lived alone in the sizeable house he'd purchased for $750,000 in 2008, according to property records. But neighbors said he often had visitors because he would open his home for parties and other functions.

Detroit Police are asking tipsters to pass along information anonymously at, and to include the case number, 2304230294. Tips may also be phoned in to Crime Stoppers of Michigan at (800) SPEAK-UP (773-2587).

(313) 222-2134

Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN