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Palm Coast Resident In New York For Friend’s Birthday Party Is Murdered Outside Pizzeria

| March 2, 2018

Hakeem Javon Griffin in a Facebook image. He was killed in new York on Feb. 28.

Hakeem Javon Griffin in a Facebook image. He was killed in new York on Feb. 28.

Last Updated: 3 p.m.

Hakeem Javon Griffin, a 22-year-old resident of Ryan Drive in Palm Coast, was killed in an argument on a street in Queens, N.Y., Wednesday evening (Feb. 28). His assailant is at large.


Griffin had gone back to his neighborhood in Queens for a friend’s birthday, the Daily News reported. He was outside Vinny’s Pizza and Pasta at 97th Place and 57th Avenue in Corona–a relatively low-crime neighborhood of working class families and immigrants–when he got into an argument with another man. “During the fight, one of the men pulled out a machete and started slashing,” the paper reported. Griffin was cut on the neck and chest and lay bleeding before he was transported to Elmhurst Hospital nearby, where he died.

“His mother took him away from here for a different life,” a 46-year-old neighbor named Cee Cee told the Daily News. She had previously lived next-door to the Griffins. “Then he comes back here and that happens to him. It’s sad … His mother raised him well.”

Vinny's Pizza, near where the argument took place.

Vinny’s Pizza, near where the argument took place.

Griffin was due back in Palm Coast Thursday. By then, a street memorial of red, white and blue candles and flowers had sprung up outside the pizza shop, along with pictures of Griffin.

“He was a really good kid, he had a very bright future ahead of him,” said Jarrod Eden, a Palm Coast contractor who knew him. “He always had a smile on his face, and was an extremely hard worker. His older brother is a Marine and he was always talking about him.”

Eden got to know Griffin first by luck, then as an employee. “I was getting my car washed at the new SuperWash in Palm Coast when I met him,” Eden said. “He was working on the line and helped me get some tools out of my bed before I pulled through the wash. His smile was almost contagious, he asked what I did for work and I told him I’m a contractor. He immediately lit up and proudly told me that he was just about to graduate from Daytona State with a construction degree and said he was looking for a job for when he graduated. Without hesitation I gave him my card and told him to call me when he graduated. A few weeks later my phone rang and it was Keem. I hired him and after his two-weeks notice to the SuperWash he came to work for me. He was a very hard worker, and an extremely passionate kid. He wanted to own his own business one day, and I had no doubt that one day he would. I’m extremely sad for his friends and family.”

Griffin had had minor troubles in Palm Coast, where he’d been pulled over last October after allegedly making a right on red at Parkview Drive and Belle Terre Parkway, without stopping first. A Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy smelled pot and Griffin conceded that he’d been smoking it, but a search of the car produced an ecstasy pill and drug paraphernalia such as a scale that resulted in additional charges. He was due in court next week, on March 7, for a pre-trial.

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28 Responses for “Palm Coast Resident In New York For Friend’s Birthday Party Is Murdered Outside Pizzeria”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Yes, he was raised well. He only had one ecstasy pill and drug paraphernalia in his car.

  2. Really says:

    The old anecdote you can never go home

  3. Really says:

    Sorry family RIP

  4. Hunter says:

    When I read the last paragraph, all I could think of is the old saying… “You can take the ____ out of the ____, but you can’t take the…, etc… etc….. etc. I think a lot if our crime is exactly for the reason that people move from high crime areas in the Tri-state area and bring it here, be it grandparents then the grandkids follow, etc. Still, it’s a shame he didn’t have much of a life. I’m fifty one, but it seems I woke up one day and I verbally uttered the words, “I remember the good old days” and it wasn’t in a voice of the snickers jelly commercial, it was real and I was saying it. I just hope someone takes my license away the first time I drive down the wrong side of the road and before I mix the break with the gas pedal up. I rambled on a bit on this one, but God Bless his family and I commend his mom in trying to get him away from a life of crime. I don’t mind if the kids use a little Marijuana or older people for that matter, especially medical needs, as long as it doesn’t become out if hand and affects others in a negative way. What you do in your home is your business (I’m going off the subject again) ANYWAY, rest in peace young man.

  5. Just the truth says:

    very, very sad. RIP

  6. Friend says:

    Thank you for reporting as I had no idea this had happened. I saw him last Tuesday 02/20 and he was very excited to go to NY and I was looking forward to seeing him when he returned, I am broken :(

    This is very sad. Although he had some trouble he was a great employee at the Superwash where no matter if it was 30 degrees or 120 degrees, he did a great job and was very well liked. I will really miss him. He also just graduated college if that even matters to all those who just read the bad part.

  7. Friend says:

    RIP Hakeem :(

  8. r&r says:

    A model citizen of Palm Coast.

  9. Layla says:

    People, don’t start arguments. It is not worth a life. I am so sorry.

  10. Coaster says:

    Jah shall welcome thee

  11. Layla says:

    Dear Friend, I am so very sorry. This young man had everything to live for, his entire future ahead. Why would he want to return to his past? A machete? Sounds like MS-13. I am so very sorry….

  12. Sadie Stevens says:

    Pot, ecstasy and drug paraphernalia, yep model citizen. Live the drug lifestyle, run the chances of dying the drug style.

  13. Outsider says:

    Sorry to hear about this young man’s untimely death. I hope his family can come to terms with this. Sorry for your loss.

  14. Jenn says:

    Horrible prayers for his family. RIP

  15. Born and Raised Here says:

    You can take the man out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the man. Sad.

  16. Kay says:

    So sad :(
    Positive vibes for his family and friends.

    Why are people so negative? It wasn’t like he was carrying around heroin. Marijuana is safer than half the prescription pills you people take.

  17. Been There says:

    You know, a young man was murdered while going to visit a longtime friend for his birthday. I can’t stand the proclaimed Christians, I’m assuming of course, who are passing judgement on this kid for doing things that many many kids do – recreational drugs. Big deal! You like to live in your perfect glass houses like you’re kids or grandkids or even yourselves have never done anything wrong or had poor judgement. I call BS! Leave his poor family and friends alone in this devastating time of grief! He sounded like an ambitious and dedicated young man, and he will be missed here on Earth, may God rest his soul in eternity.

  18. Yorconscience says:

    What a shame that this young man and his family cannot have a moment of sympathy without idiots saying disparaging comments. I knew Hakeem as a respectful young man that had promise. He WAS a good kid from a good family that loved Hakeem in the fullest! As for a minor traffic stop which in my experience observing police activities always result in the smell of marijuana and further investigations resulting in arrest. This is known as ” A catch all” by law enforcement. I question any such searches resulting from assumptions and accusation of the smell of pot which seems to be another common phrase from cops such as “I feared for my safety” with some expectation of omission from most young drivers who don’t know better. I question this tactic and it’s legality. It saddens me that he was killed especially in this manner. As for all those idiots who don’t seem to understand the criminal nature of the privileged in this society,ie. Gov. Scott, and Trump, the privilege it bestows on some and continue to dame others in a consistent manner, F@#k-Off and get a life!

  19. Trailer Bob says:

    So sad and I am so sorry for the family and friends. Hey, I am a model citizen and at my age, the drugs of choice where somewhat different, so I could have been found with pot and LSD in my car. I never killed anyone or dealt drugs. kid will be kids.
    I agree that if I had come from NYC I would not go back as there is nothing but losers and crazy people on the city streets. F that! RIP young man…

  20. Geezer says:

    I am sorry that Hakeem lost his life in NYC, and in such a senseless manner.
    My sympathies to his family and friends.

    May his loved ones pay no mind to negative comments, as it’s fashionable now
    (it seems) to sound heartless in the wake of a tragedy. When I was younger, people
    used to respect decedents and their families. And we’re talking about a 22-year old kid.
    Yes, a “kid.”

    Society has never been as coarse as it is these days.

    May the heartless get a dose of their own medicine one day.

  21. Donna Heiss says:

    My sincere condolences go out to family and friends. No one deserves comments like this. This family is grieving. Some respect here please.

  22. Layla says:

    How many think a legal gun owner did this?

  23. bob says:

    the wages of sin is death romans 6-23 . no jesus no peace
    you cannot serve GOD and mammon. repent people
    people are searching everywhere for answers but
    only GOD can give the peace .read the bible and
    come to jesus christ for salvation or hell awaits you
    acts 4-12

  24. Anonymous says:

    R.i.p to my good friend/co-worker he was an amazing guy always sending positive vibes never negative vibes… Always making peoples days when they are down. Its not the same without him at work anymore but i can still hear him at work yelling neutral foot off brake.

  25. Jolene dehart says:

    Wow. I had no idea how many individuals were sent here from God to sit in judgement of others. Especially people they have never met and know absolutely nothing about. SHAMEFUL.

  26. can'tfoolme says:

    @ Layla

    A LEGAL GUN OWNER??? What in the heck does a gun owner, legal or illegal, have to do with this young man’s death? The report clearly states he was killed by a machete, a horrible way to die. My heartfelt sympathy to his family and friends.

  27. Anonymous says:

    It is always tragic to see young lives cut short. MY sincere condolences to his family and friends. May his memory always be blessing to you..

  28. johnx says:

    Sad for the family. Bless his soul.

    the machete does sound like MS-13. A signature weapon meant to instill fear.

    I presume, in his absence, a change of control had occurred, as to which he had not been advised?

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