Father killed execution-style in front of teen son, police say

A family gathered Monday night at the spot in Gainesville, Georgia, where a man died in front of his teenage son. They want the killer caught before someone else suffers through the same kind of loss.

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Dennis Gayton and his son, Tyler Gayton, 15, were driving to the grocery store when two men waved them down, asking for help.

"We stopped, thinking they needed help," Tyler told WSBTV.

He said his dad was killed by two stranded men who he thought needed a ride.

“(One of the men) came up, put his head in the window and pulled out the gun and put it in his face,” Tyler said. “My dad grabbed it, pointed (it) away from his body. Then the guy jerked back and shot him.”

Tyler said the man tried shooting him, too. A bullet grazed his neck.

Tyler's mother, Jonie Gayton, was on the phone with him and heard the commotion.

“I didn't even get to say goodbye,” she said. “He left behind these three babies. … Please don't hide (Dennis Gayton’s killers), I beg. I beg as a mother, as a wife. I beg. Please, please bring these people in,”

Gainesville police released a sketch of a person of interest in the case, though there are few leads in what investigators describe as the cold-blooded murder of Dennis Gayton.

“(He was) killed practically execution-style in front of his son, and (the gunman is) someone we would say is extremely dangerous,” Gainesville police Sgt. Kevin Holbrook said. “We want to take these individuals off the streets.”

After Tyler was shot, his father hit the gas and crashed their car head-on into a tree on Carlton Street.

Tyler ran off, breaking through a fence in search of help.

The family says it needs about $3,000 for a funeral and has set up a GoFundMe account to help raise money for the expenses.

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