(CBS4) – The body of the Castle Rock man who was shot and killed while protecting his family from a gunman in Miami was returned to Colorado over the weekend. Dustin Wakefield’s body was taken to a funeral home in Aurora on Saturday.
Family members shared photos with CBS4 of the procession, which included police, firefighters, family and friends.
A public funeral for the 21 year old is now scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sept. 2 at BRAVE Church in Englewood.
“I see his legacy living on with his family… ensuring that their son, as he grows, knows that his dad gave his life for him,” said Mark Wakefield, Dustin’s uncle.
On Aug. 24, Wakefield was eating dinner at a restaurant in South Beach with family, including his wife and 1-year-old son. According to witnesses, a gunman approached, and Wakefield stepped in the way before being shot.
The suspect, Tamarius Davis, is facing several charges, including second degree murder with a weapon and attempted murder. According to an arrest report, he confessed to the shooting, saying he was high on mushrooms and chose to randomly shoot two people because he felt empowered.
“It was devastating,” said Mark.
On Saturday, Mark shared memories and photos of his nephew with CBS4. He described Dustin as being positive, hardworking, and dedicated to his wife and son.
He’ll also remember the 21 year old as someone willing to help anyone in need. He said, when Dustin graduated from high school, he was recognized for having completed 750 community service hours, which was the most in his class.
“You won’t find anybody with a bigger heart than what Dustin had,” Mark said. “Anything he could do to find a way of helping people, be engaged with people, be involved with people, he was willing to do that.”
According to Mark, Dustin worked in construction and hoped to one day earn his journeyman’s license. In his spare time, he loved to hike, hunt and play music.
“It was just really fun to see him develop his talents and watch him grow,” he said. “It was I think what defined him. Music gives us a focus in life, and I think he used that music to focus himself.”
On Tuesday, Mark learned about the incident in Miami through a Facebook post. While heartbroken over the loss, he said he was not surprised by Dustin’s reported bravery.
“I’m not surprised at all,” he said. “Even if his son hadn’t been threatened, I think if somebody else had been threatened, I think he would have stepped in and tried to de-escalate to try to calm the situation down because that’s just who he was.”
As Wakefield’s family members cope with heartbreak this week, they’ve also found overwhelming support from around the globe. Within days, a GoFundMe page posted for the family raised more than $250,000.
“It’s been absolutely amazing to me and my family to see the outpouring of love, the outpouring of gifts, the outpouring of support, not only from our local community here, but from Miami,” he said. “So many people in Miami said ‘this is not who we are. We are so sorry for your loss.’”
Mark said he wants Dustin to be remembered for who he was – a loving man who would have done anything for those he cared about.
“There’s no telling what he would have accomplished for his family and those around him had he not passed away.”