DeFarra Gaymon, a father of four and the CEO of Credit Union of Atlanta drove to New Jersey from Atlanta to attend his 30th Montclair High School reunion, which he helped to spearhead. Gaymon never made it to his planned affair, though, because he was shot to death last Friday by a Newark police officer. On Tuesday, the Essex County prosecutor released the facts of what allegedly occurred the night Gaymon was killed.
The officer who pulled the trigger and whose name has not been released told investigators that he and his partner had been doing undercover work as the result of complaints about public sexual acts in Newark's Branch Brook Park. The park is a notorious sexual pickup spot for men looking to have sexual encounters with other men. There are also male prostitutes who stroll the park looking for conquests. Officers have made well over 200 arrests in the park over an 18-month period.
The eight-year veteran, who had been involved in an arrest right before Gaymon was shot, lost his handcuffs while trying to pursue the perpetrator. When the officer went back to retrace his steps in an effort to find his cuffs, he was approached by Gaymon. According to the prosecutor, the officer claims that the 48-year-old man propositioned him for sex all while engaged in a masturbatory act.
When the officer identified himself by flashing his badge, Gaymon allegedly assualted him, panicked and then fled. The officer gave chase. The men found themselves at the edge of a pond, where the officer tried to kick his legs out from under him, but this move failed.
The prosecutor went on to state that Gaymon got up "turned toward the officer, reached in to his pocket and attempted to disarm him. At that time, the officer, fearing for his life, fired his weapon."
There were no witnesses to the shooting.
Gaymon was shot once in the abdomen and died several hours later at University Hospital in Newark.
Kelly Gaymon Armstrong, the victim's sister, doubts the officer's version of what actually happened:
"I do not believe that story. Not one bit. That is not my brother's character. That is a made-up story ... an absolute lie. The truth will come out."
She is calling for an independent law enforcement agency to further investigate the case.
So far no charges have been filed against the officer in question. He was treated for trauma at a hospital and will be able to resume his duties after he receives a green light from his doctor.
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