A 62-year-old Army veteran is being honored as a hero after he died saving two teenagers from a brutal attack in Denver.
According to CNN, James Farmer Jr. was sleeping in his car in downtown Denver on June 16 when he woke up and saw a homeless man attacking two teens. And so Farmer did what he thought was right, intervening to help and protect the teens, and ultimately lost his life.
Police say that the suspect in the attack, 28-year-old DeJuan Stamps, turned his attention away from the teenagers and beat Farmer to death. When police arrived, Farmer was on the ground and a man was “continually striking the victim in the chest with force.” Farmer did not even make it to a hospital. An autopsy confirmed that he died from blunt-force injuries.
His family says that Farmer was living out of his car so that he could save money, find work, and send money to his grandchildren and family in Seattle. He was planning to move back to Seattle in September and buy a home with his fiancee. Now those dreams are gone.
“We would like to clarify that he was not just some ‘homeless’ man living in his car. The Saab he resided in, he bought and paid for,” family members stated, according to KDVR. “James Farmer Jr. moved down to Denver to further his employment opportunities. He sent money back to his grandchildren and family. He had dreams, goals and ambitions.”
Wes Brown, the father of 18-year-old Aidan Brown, one of the teens who was beaten up, said that his son was hurt so badly that he had to get staples in his head and was left unconscious.
“He surely would’ve died had [Farmer] not intervened,” Wes Brown told the Denver Channel. “No one is surprised that he stepped in the way he did, which I found amazing, and I wish I could thank him personally.”
Farmer’s family described their loved one as a hardworking, family-oriented man who still, long after leaving the armed forces, lived his life like a soldier.
“He took [an] oath when he joined the United States Army and promised never to leave a man behind. Well, that is what James stood for on June 16, 2017. He heard someone in need and risked his life to save [the] lives of those teenagers,” the family said. “James sacrificed himself and in return died a brutal murder.”
Farmer leaves behind two sisters, a brother, a son, his fiancee, five granddaughters and “a host of nieces and nephews that loved him dearly.”
CNN notes that Farmer died near the St. Francis Center, a shelter that provides employment and housing services to homeless adults in Denver to help them get back on their feet. Farmer was well-known at the center and was close to the staff and others there.
“People who know what’s right do what’s right. And he was one of those people who did it. He stepped up to help. And unfortunately, it cost him his life,” a shelter official told KDVR about Farmer.
The center held a memorial service for him Tuesday morning, thanking everyone who came out to honor his life.
As for the suspect, police say that the 28-year-old is facing charges of first-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and third-degree assault.