NEWFIELD, N.Y. –– Dejour Gandy, 29 years old, was shot and killed in his home on Shaffer Road in Newfield in the early morning hours of Saturday, Dec, 7.

The Ithaca and Newfield communities have come together to remember Gandy, who worked as a pre-k teacher at the Downtown Ithaca Children’s Center.

A Newfield High School graduate, who played football and participated in musical theatre, Gandy had just recently moved back to his home town from Arizona.

A GoFundMe has been set up in his honor to pay for funeral expenses and other needs the family may have following their loss.

“This page exists in honor of the one and only Dejour Xavier Gandy – Paddington, Pig, Big Man, Buddy, ‘D’ – the amazingly kind son, brother, uncle, father, mentor and friend with the megawatt grin and heart of gold,” the GoFundMe says. “Dejour touched the lives of everyone he encountered. His accepting nature, laid-back demeanor and genuine love for others could be felt as soon as he entered any room.”

Student artwork featuring Dejour’s handprint. Courtesy of DICC parent.
Student artwork featuring Dejour’s handprint. Courtesy of DICC parent.

As of Dec. 13, the page has raised $7,000 of its $25,000 goal.

“He was just an outstanding teacher and you walked into the room and he always had a big smile. He was able to find this place as a teacher where he could both correct the student –– and you have to do a lot of correction in a pre-school classroom –– but also instill confidence and exude fun and this loving nature that he had,” the father of one of Dejour’s students said. “Even at his age, these kids already live in a world of good guys and bad guys, and as a parent you always want the good guys to win. Unfortunately last Saturday the good guy lost, but we still have to find a way to make sure that good ultimately triumphs.”

Services will be held Saturday, December 14th at The Vineyard Church 23 Cinema Dr. Ithaca, NY at 12:00 p.m.  The family will receive friends from 10 a.m. to noon prior to the service.

At approximately 1:26 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, Sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call that came from a witness inside the house. Authorities arrived to find Dejour deceased from a gunshot wound. Another witness said that three black males with face coverings entered the home and confronted the victim with guns drawn, one of which shot at the victim before all three fled the scene.

Memorial artwork by DICC students. Courtesy of DICC parent.

According to the Tompkins County Sheriff Derek Osbourne, there is an ongoing joint investigation with assistance from the Ithaca Police Department and the New York State Police.

Osbourne said law enforcement has been, “working non-stop since the incident occurred.” He did not have any updates on the case.

Investigators have also been asking Newfield residents with exterior surveillance camera systems in the areas of Shaffer Road, Pearl Street, and Main Street to contact them through the Tompkins County Emergency Response Center at (607) 273-8000.

Featured image courtesy of DICC parent. 

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com