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Hero Bridgeport barber leaves behind 8-year-old daughter

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The hero barber in Bridgeport who died Saturday trying to shield his customers from a gunman had an 8-year-old daughter and wanted to one day become a veterinarian, relatives say. The hero barber in Bridgeport who died Saturday trying to shield his customers from a gunman had an 8-year-old daughter and wanted to one day become a veterinarian, relatives say.
BRIDGEPORT -

The hero barber in Bridgeport who died Saturday trying to shield his customers from a gunman had an 8-year-old daughter and wanted to one day become a veterinarian, relatives say.

"He loved her endlessly, unconditionally," said Kimone Waite of her husband Deon Rodney and his relationship with his daughter.

Police say two gunmen chased another man into Just Right Cutz on Park Avenue Saturday. Rodney, 32, had customers in the store at the time, including a child -- so he reacted.

"He actually struck one of the suspects and wrestled with the suspect," said Capt. Roderick Porter, of the Bridgeport Police Department. "Not only was he trying to protect the individual who was fleeing our suspects in this case -- but also other individuals in the barbershop as well."

Now, police are calling Rodney a hero. 

"It's in his nature," Waite said. "Especially if there was a kid in there, I know he would've tried to have done something to protect that child's life."

Customers, friends and other mourners set up a memorial outside the barbershop.

"Deon is a part of me," said Beverly Whittingham, his mother. "He was my son, but he was also my friend."

The ordeal has left her grieving, but she added that she can take some comfort in his heroism.

"He gave his life for somebody," she said.

Supporters have set up a GoFundMe campaign for the family.

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