South Beach residents don’t want young father’s heroic sacrifice on Ocean Drive to be forgotten
Irene Bigger didn’t get to meet Dustin Wakefield, a 21-year-old father who was on vacation in South Beach when a man — who appeared to be under a magic mushroom-induced psychosis — murdered him on Aug. 24 on Ocean Drive.
It was still daylight and Wakefield was having dinner in the outdoor area of La Cerveceria de Barrio, a Mexican restaurant, at 1412 Ocean Dr. Wakefield, of Castle Rock, Colorado, didn’t know his killer, Tamarius Davis, 22, of Norcross, Georgia, police said.
Bigger, who lives nearby, said the murder left her grieving for Wakefield and his family. Davis told police officers it was a random act of violence in broad daylight and that meant his victim could have been anyone.
“He was a stranger, but then he was not a stranger the day that he was killed in our own backyard, so we take it very personally,” said Bigger, a co-founder of SoBe Safe, a nonprofit organization founded last year to advocate for a safer neighborhood.
On Tuesday night, Bigger and other residents held a vigil as a tribute to Wakefield, who witnesses said died a hero while saving the lives of his family and others at the restaurant. Bigger doesn’t want anyone to forget the sacrifice Wakefield had to make.
Dustin Wakefield, 21, was fatally shot while defending his son from a gunman on Aug. 24 in South Beach.
“He’s a proud dad. When his son grows up and hears about this, he’s going to forever love his dad — not matter if he’s there or not,” said Marquita Bradford, who witnessed the murder.
Another witness at the 1390 Ocean Drive Condo recorded a video showing Davis shot at a pedestrian outside of the Winter Haven Hotel, at 1400 Ocean Dr., and missed. Davis continued walking eastbound on 14th Street and turned left on Ocean Drive.
A waiter working at Havana 1957, a nearby family-friendly Cuban restaurant, said he saw the gunman just outside of the Marriott Vacation Club Pulse, at 1410 Ocean Dr.
Davis continued walking northbound while wielding a gun on Ocean Drive. At about 6:20 p.m., Davis walked into the outdoor dining area, at 1412 Ocean Dr., where Wakefield and his family were celebrating together.
Roberto Leon and Odalys Olguien identified Davis as the gunman who pointed a gun at Wakefield’s table. Karina Olguin, who had wed Wakefield on March 6, 2019, was celebrating her August birthday. She and their one-year-old son Eli witnessed the shooting.
“I remember Dustin saying, ‘Please, I have a son. He’s just a boy.’ And that’s when it all happened,” the grieving widow said adding, “I was like, ‘Dustin the baby!’ I yelled, Dustin got up, got Eli, and took him to my grandma. He (Davis) was right behind me I remember him leaving. It was fast.”
Dustin Wakefield, 21, holds his one-year-old son and his wife for a family picture.
Lorenzo Trench, a ranger at Lummus Park, heard a gunshot and saw Davis chasing Wakefield and heard more gunshots, according to the arrest affidavit. A witness’ video shows Davis dancing after the shooting. Karina Olguin said Wakefield was a courageous hero and an “amazing, loving father” who protected his family until the end.
Officers responded about 6:23 p.m., and saw Wakefield had been shot in the head, police said. A witness’s video shows an officer performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
When two officers arrived at an alleyway nearby, Davis was trying to open a locked door, according to the arrest form. The officers ordered him to drop the firearm. A witness’s video shows Davis complied and confessed.
“The defendant stated he was high on mushrooms which made him feel empowered. The defendant continued by saying he randomly chose two men to shoot at,” an officer wrote in the arrest report.
A doctor at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center pronounced Wakefield dead. Davis’ father, Tommy Davis, declined to comment. Davis is facing two felony charges of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Mindy Glazer addressed Davis in court.
“Sir, you are being held with no bond,” Glazer said. “You shot and killed somebody in cold blood.”
Wakefield’s mother, Lora Wakefield, said her son was a practicing Christian, a “worshipper” and a musician.
“We saw miracles. We saw miracles together. His music, his music is amazing.” the grieving mother said later adding, “In memory of my son, I ask: Do something good like he would. Smile at a stranger, give a hug to somebody. See the person in front of you. Really see them. Don’t let this world desensitize you to what love is.”
“Dustin loved his family and loved and cared for all he met. He will be missed in this world. Dustin saved his son and his family,” said his uncle Michael Wakefield, who set up the Fundraiser for Dustin’s Family. His stepmother, Angie Wakefield, set up Dustin’s Family page on GoFundMe.
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