tragedies

Killed While Cruising, Defarra Gaymon Was a Man With a Big Heart

Aside from all the controversy surrounding the New Jersey police shooting death of Atlanta’s Defarra Gaymon while he was cruising for sex in a park, I think what his family would like everyone to most remember him for is how he worked to help other people.

The cop who shot Gaymon, Edward Esposito, is back at work and wants us (or rather, investigators) to believe Gaymon threatened his life. We may never know what truly happened last month, while Gaymon was in Jersey for his high school’s 30th high school reunion. But we do know he contributed to the well-being of his fellow man, relays the Times in a lengthy profile of both Gaymon and Esposito.

“In the early ’90s, banks suffered from a recession, similar to today’s situation, which afforded me a new opportunity,” he later wrote in promotional material for the Credit Union Executives Society. “I came across what was called a credit union — not knowing exactly what a credit union was.”

He prided himself on being something of a miracle worker for people who could not get loans elsewhere. Many such clients showed up for his wake. He helped Irish Brown, now 50, get a car loan when nobody else would. He helped Constance Hawthorne, 62, pay off debts and secure a loan for a $300,000 home. “He taught me about managing money,” she said at his wake. “If it wasn’t for Dean, I wouldn’t have any.”

Two hours before he was dead, “Gaymon sent a text message to Cheryl Wilcox, 57, who was seeking a loan for a new BMW, and then called the office at 4 p.m. to confirm that the loan had gone through.”

Says Defarra’s father George about his always impeccably dressed son: “I raised that young man. I know it’s not true [that he was gay].” But: “Even if that was the case, is that a reason to shoot to kill?”

The area where Gaymon died, Branch Book Park, appears for now to be free of men looking for sex.