Derrick L. McFarland, 32, security guard

August 27, 2006|By John-John Williams IV | John-John Williams IV,Sun reporter

A funeral service will be held tomorrow in Baltimore for Derrick Lamont McFarland, who was fatally shot Aug. 20 at the Virginia hospital where he worked as a security guard. A native of Baltimore, he was 32 and lived in Christiansburg, Va.

He was killed during an escape from Montgomery Regional Hospital by William Morva, 24, a prisoner awaiting trial who was being treated at the emergency room. The prisoner, who authorities said also killed a sheriff's deputy, was captured the next day at nearby Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, which been shut down during the manhunt.

Mr. McFarland was a "gentle giant," said Jason Goldman of Birmingham, Ala., who attended Baltimore's Cross Country Elementary School with him more than a decade ago.

A bully forged their friendship. Mr. Goldman was the new kid who was being bullied, and Mr. McFarland was the biggest fifth-grader he could find for protection. "He became my friend and bodyguard," Mr. Goldman, now 32, said yesterday afternoon as he rode with Mr. McFarland's family to prepare for his childhood friend's funeral. "That's the kind of guy he was."

"I was shocked and dismayed," said Mr. Goldman, who was in his Birmingham home when he learned about his friend's death. "He was a cool guy."

Mr. Goldman and Mr. McFarland remained friends even though they attended different high schools - Mr. McFarland graduated from City College and Mr. Goldman graduated from Polytechnic Institute - and moved to different cities. Mr. Goldman moved to Birmingham and Mr. McFarland moved to Marion, Va., where he met his wife, Cindy.

Mr. Goldman and Mr. McFarland most recently talked two months ago about motorcycles. Mr. McFarland planned to build his own motorcycle from spare parts.

"He was always fixing people's cars, neighbor's clocks," Mr. Goldman said. "He could fix anything. He wanted to know how things worked. He wanted to make them better."

Mr. McFarland's other passion was cooking. "He told me to put Old Bay and lemon pepper seasonings in eggs," Mr. Goldman recalled.

Mr. McFarland was also known to experiment with new recipes and share dishes with co-workers at the hospital, where he had worked for the past three years, after moving to Christiansburg from Marion. "Blackberry cobbler was his specialty," Mr. Goldman said.

Mr. McFarland's father, Harold McFarland of Baltimore, said his son's cooking skills were self-serving. "I always said [he] liked to eat," his father said with a laugh. "It's just natural he liked to cook."

His father said he will remember his son's pleasant demeanor and large "Cheshire cat" grin.

"It came natural to him," he said. The two last spoke the Thursday before the shooting. The elder Mr. McFarland was recuperating from surgery at University of Maryland Medical Center. His son came to visit him, flashed him that grin, and promised to spend the next week with him. "That's another reason I remember that Cheshire cat smile." his father said.

A funeral service will be held at 9 a.m. tomorrow at Seventh Baptist Church, 30 E. North Ave.

Mr. McFarland is also survived by his mother, Rosalind; a son, Jonathan, 11, and a daughter, Kaneisha, 3, both at home; and a younger brother, Eric McFarland of Baltimore.

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