Valdosta Daily Times

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May 3, 2010

Valdosta man killed

Tried to stop a robbery

-- — David G. DeMersseman, 54, of Valdosta was shot and killed during a robbery at a Waffle House early Monday in Baton Rouge, La.

DeMersseman was on a business trip, and was the sole customer in the restaurant at the time of the robbery, according to reports from the Advocate newspaper. At 1:20 a.m., a man in a mask went inside the Waffle House to rob it. When the gunman tried to take DeMersseman’s wallet, DeMersseman tried to grab the gun and the robber shot him before fleeing, according to the newspaper account and the Baton Rouge police report.

“That is absolutely something my dad would do,” said his son, Stewart DeMersseman. “I can see my dad trying to knock the gun out of his hand and he was probably quoting the Scriptures to him while he was doing it. That is totally in his character.”

Stewart confirmed that his father was on business, selling insurance for First Benefits of Macon.

“He traveled quite a bit, every few months at least. He was actually on his way to Texas after he left Louisiana.”

“Early this morning, I had pangs in my heart,” Stewart said. “Then the police came to tell me what happened to my dad.”

Stewart says his father was very involved in the community and had been his entire life.

David DeMersseman is indeed a well-known figure in Valdosta, not only for his political aspirations but also for his community service. He was a high school basketball official

 for more than 30 years and volunteered annually with the YMCA’s Challenger League. An avid tennis player, DeMersseman was also active as a bridge player and was very involved at the Senior Center in town.

From 1993 to 2000, DeMersseman held the position of Lowndes County assessor, but was unsuccessful in his bid to return to that elected post in 2008. In 2009, he ran unsuccessfully for a position on the Valdosta City Council.

The Baton Rouge Police Department is seeking the suspect, who was described as a black male, young, with a small build.

Stewart DeMersseman said the family is still in shock and has not yet made funeral arrangements for his father.

DeMersseman has three children, Stewart, Suzanna and Daniel.

News Editor Jessica Pope contributed to this story.

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