When Dameion Peart got the phone call from his uncle, he didn’t believe it. He drove to his father’s Miami Gardens car wash to see for himself. He hoped the news wouldn’t be too bad, or maybe the shooting happened someplace else.
He pulled up, saw flashing lights and police tape, and knew it was true.
His father, Errold Peart, had been trying to protect a customer Sunday afternoon from armed robbers at the car wash he ran at Northwest 191st Street and First Place.
The robbers turned their gun on Peart, killing him.
“He put his own life before someone else,” his son said.
Now, Peart’s family began the unexpected task of planning a memorial. He was five days away from his 60th birthday.
He won’t get to see his daughter, Mishka Peart, 23, graduate from the University of Miami’s medical school.
“It’s just sad,” Dameion Peart said. “It was unnecessary.”
When the community heard of the shooting, they started dropping by the scene. They were the ones who lived nearby, longtime customers and friends, each with their own tale of how his father had helped them through the years.
They talked about the times Peart, 59, didn’t charge for carwashes to people short on money. They told Dameion Peart, 32, how his father would give money to people who needed help paying for water and electricity, never asking for the money back.
They shared stories about people who couldn’t get jobs because they had convictions — until Peart gave them work.
One of the younger employees told him it was Errold Peart who convinced her to go back to school.
“He was a very good, kindhearted person and a good father at the same time,” Dameion Peart said. “The community where his business is located, he really helped them out here.”
Errold Peart hailed from Jamaica, where he played cricket and worked at one point at a school for problem children, his son said. He eventually came to the United States, where he continued to play cricket for the USA national team.
Peart represented the USA in five matches at the 1990 International Cricket Council Trophy in the Netherlands, where the batsman was the team’s leading scorer, ESPN reported. The USA made it through the first round that year before losing in the second, according to ESPN.
At first, Peart worked with an airline, his son said, but later decided to open his own business.
He started the car wash more than a decade ago, his son said. He chose the location because it was near a busy stretch of U.S. 441 and near Florida’s Turnpike, the Palmetto Expressway and Interstate 95.
“It was like a landmark,” Dameion Peart said. “Everyone knew him.”
But Peart worried about safety.
“He didn’t like guns. But every year, around this time, for the past three years he got held up at gunpoint and people tried to rob him,” Dameion Peart said. “The last time they even followed him home.”
So Errold Peart got a concealed weapons permit.
On Sunday afternoon, he noticed a pair of young men trying to rob a customer. Errold Peart went out to try and stop it, his son said, only to be shot himself.
The men ran away, leaving behind the customer and a bleeding Peart.
Miami Gardens Police still were looking for the suspects on Monday.
Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.