MIAMI - The grieving family of a Colorado tourist shot dead after shielding his 2-year-old son from a crazed gunman at a Miami Beach restaurant says the young father "always put others first, even from a young age."
Dustin Wakefield, 21, acted as a "hero," according to his family, while on vacation from Castle Rock, Colorado. He and his family were dining at the La Cerveceria restaurant around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when a man walked through the door waving a gun. The suspect, identified as 22-year-old Tamarius Blair Davis Jr. of Norcross, Georgia, allegedly approached the toddler, but Wakefield got between his son and the armed man. Wakefield was shot several times, and disturbing video showed the alleged gunman dancing in the outdoor seating area as patrons could be heard screaming.
"It is in his true character that he laid to rest, protecting his family. He is that man," Dustin’s parents, Matt and Angela Wakefield, said in a statement provided to Fox News on Thursday. "We take great pride and comfort in the fact that we were blessed with the man who stepped up to save others. He has always been and he will continue to be our hero."
"There are few words in the English language that can convey the depth of Dustin’s love and generosity. For us, his family, he was the best son/brother/uncle/cousin/nephew/grandson you could ask for," they continued. "He always put others first, even from a young age."
"As a man, he was a faithful and loving husband. Karina is the love of his life, and she knows it. His love for her should inspire us. As a father he was full of love and pride. He loved his son with all he was."
The family continued, "As a friend, there is not a person alive who did not feel his kindness, empathy and love from him. He would give freely to anyone and would give from his heart, full of love and acceptance. He loved God. Every day he lived full of faith and peace and he shared that with others."
Speaking to Fox News by phone, Dustin's father, Matt Wakefield, also provided a quick update on his grandson, Elijah, who was not injured.
"I mean he’s 2 years old," Matt Wakefield said. "Dustin protected him, so Elijah wasn’t injured during the incident and as far as how he’s doing, a 2-year-old doesn’t really comprehend what is happening right now."
An arrest affidavit said Davis stated he "was high on mushrooms, which made him feel empowered." Meanwhile, another harrowing cellphone video showed officers with their guns drawn approaching Davis after police said he fled the restaurant and ran into a nearby alleyway.
Davis was spread-eagle on his back and smiling as three officers approached with their guns pointed toward him and yelling commands, warning him that if he touched his gun he would be shot.
Davis then rolled onto his side into a fetal position, before again rolling onto his back as officers approached. Davis screamed, "I give, I give, I give," as officers flipped him onto his stomach and handcuffed him. The video shows a black handgun lying about 10 feet away.
In the wake of the shooting that killed Wakefield, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said Wednesday that the South Beach Entertainment District needs to be dismantled, as restaurants and hotel owners have repeatedly complained about rising crime and chaos along Ocean Drive, WPLG reported.
"Our city can no longer sustain an entertainment district," Gelber said. "It just attracts too many people, too many looking to act out, to fight, or buy drugs."
Angela Wakefield started a GoFundMe page to raise money for Dustin’s wife and son that has raised more than $45,000 by Thursday afternoon. Dustin’s uncle, Mike Wakefield, also started a separate GoFundMe page that has raised over $196,000 by Thursday. Dustin worked in construction.
Davis remains held without bond at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. He is charged with two felony counts of second-degree murder with a weapon and attempted second-degree murder.
Fox News' Bradford Betz contributed to this report.
Get updates on this story from FOXNews.com.