Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino today announced that an autopsy performed by the Essex County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that DeFarra “Dean’’ Gaymon, a 48-year-old Georgia man, died from a single gunshot wound to the abdomen.
Gaymon was fatally shot at approximately 6 p.m. on Friday, July 16, 2010 by an undercover Essex County sheriff’s detective investigating complaints of public sexual activity at Branch Brook Park in Newark. The 29-year-old officer, who has been with the department for eight years, is fully cooperating with the Prosecutor’s Office. He gave a statement to investigators yesterday evening.
According to the officer, he made an arrest in an unrelated case when he realized he had 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.
The officer immediately called for help and rendered first aid to Mr. Gaymon who was rushed to University Hospital and was pronounced dead at 9 p.m. No weapon was recovered at the scene. The officer, who was also taken to the hospital, was treated for trauma and released. He has not been cleared to return to work at this time. He was on medication and under a doctor’s care for the weekend.
The next of kin have been notified. Gaymon was married and has four minor children. He was in New Jersey to attend his 30th class reunion at Montclair High School.
The investigation is ongoing. Witnesses with information are asked to contact the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Standards Bureau at 973-266-4250 or the Homicide Unit at 1-877-847-7432.
The case will be presented to a grand jury as is required under guidelines established by the Office of the Attorney General in all cases involving police shootings.