Man shot by Detective in Branch Brook Park

July 21, 2010 9:48:37 AM PDT
A father was shot and killed by an undercover police officer but police say the victim made a 'sexual' move towards the officer.

Officials have released new details on the shooting, but the businessman's family is demanding more answers.

Crime Scene Investigators were combing through a secluded section of Branch Brook Park Tuesday, where an undercover Essex County Sheriff's detective shot and killed 48-year-old Defarra 'Dean' Gaymon last Friday.

Gaymon was visiting New Jersey to attend Montclair High School's 30th reunion.

"Why would they shoot him because everyone knew him as being a kind hearted guy so they couldn't figure out why him," said Kerry Asbury, the reunion organizer.

Since graduation, Gaymon had worked his way up the corporate ladder to become President and CEO of the Credit Union of Atlanta. Last Friday in Branch Brook Park, an undercover detective approached him as a suspect after a caller complained of sexual activity occuring in public in the park.

According to the officer, he made an arrest in an unrelated case when he realized he has lost a pair of handcuffs during that arrest. After the suspect in that earlier case was secured, the officer told his partner he was going back into the woods, retracing his steps in an effort to find the missing handcuffs. While bending down to retrieve the handcuffs, the plainclothes officer was approached by Mr. Gaymon, who was engaged in a sex act at the time.

The officer pulled out his badge, identified himself as a police officer and informed Mr. Gaymon he was under arrest. Mr. Gaymon appeared to panic, assaulted the police officer and fled. A foot chase ensued. The officer made repeated commands to Mr. Gaymon to stop and submit. Mr. Gaymon ignored those commands, did not raise his arms or make his hands visible and repeatedly threatened to kill the officer. Mr. Gaymon then lunged at and attempted to disarm the officer while reaching into his own pocket. Fearing for his life, the officer discharged his service weapon, striking Mr. Gaymon once.

Gaymon, who was unarmed, was shot once in the stomach and died. The 29-year- old detective who fired the shot was so distraught, he had to be sedated and was not capable of providing a statement for three days. The Gaymon family released a statement: "We know that the police killed an innocent man, with no history of or disposition towards violence."

Gaymon, the son of a preacher, leaves behind a wife and four young children.

"He was very professional, he never had any aggressive behavior or even an aggressive comment to anyone," said Calvin Tucker.

The Essex County Prosecutor's office says Gaymon did something to the detective when he was caught in the act. But his friends say they simply can't accept his violent death.

More on what prosecutors say happened, what will happen to the detective