Teen charged as adult in stabbing of Sherwood grad -- Gazette.Net


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This story was updated at 7:25 p.m. on Nov. 19, 2012.

Two days after Olijawon Griffin was stabbed to death in Metro’s Woodley Park station, friends and former educators grieved for the Olney man.

“Our hearts are very heavy,” Sherwood Principal Bill Gregory said Monday.

Metropolitan Police said Griffin, 18, of Olney, was stabbed about 1:15 a.m. in the Metro station and later died of his injuries at a local hospital. He had been robbed earlier in the night and then ran into the assailants later with two of his friends, when he was stabbed, police said.

Chavez Tyrek Myers, 17 of District Heights has been charged as an adult with murder, authorities said. Authorities said Myers had been charged as an adult with second-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

Eight others still face juvenile criminal charges in connection with the case. One was charged with aggravated assault and robbery, while the rest were charged with aggravated assault, police said.

Authorities have not identified the juvenile suspects. At least one other suspect was still being sought Monday.

Griffin was a 2012 graduate of Sherwood High School in Sandy Spring, where he played as a linebacker and tight end for the Sherwood Warriors, according to Mike Bonavia, his coach.

“He feared nobody,” Bonavia said. “He was very tough as a player.”

Griffin put his team above his personal desires. He preferred playing as a linebacker, but he once sensed that his team needed him as a lineman, Bonavia said.

The young man told the coach, “‘Give me a lineman jersey number,’ [which would allow him to play on the line], and before I even said anything, he had it on.”

Griffin had talked to him about playing college ball at King’s College in northeastern Pennsylvania, he said.

Members of Griffin’s family could not be reached. In an interview with ABC-7 TV, his mother Lunette Griffin urged authorities to charge more of the suspects as adults in her son’s killing.

Her son stood “six-foot-one, weighing 200-and-something pounds,” she said in the television interview. “Without their help, Olijawon wouldn’t have been stabbed.”

At Sherwood on Monday, Griffin’s former team and classmates said he was a loyal friend.

“He was always there for people,” said Moses Vines, 18, who was a running back on last year’s team.

Fitz Mofor, another teammate, said “He was a great leader,” recalling a game against Blake High School in 2011, when the Warriors were trailing 7-3 at the half.

“You need to get it together,” he said Griffin told them. They won 17-10.

Jordan Johnson, 17, said he had spoken to Griffin two weeks ago. Griffin, who had just started a job at the National Institutes of Health, “was talking about how he was going to take us shopping,” he said.

He also took part in Sherwood’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival, an annual show the school has put on for decades.

“He put a personal touch into it,” said Erica Everett, a Sherwood senior.

He worked as a contract driver’s assistant in the Waste and Resource Recovery Branch of NIH’s Office of Research facilities since late October, according to an agency spokeswoman.

D.C. Superior Court documents revealed a more complex situation Monday after more details emerged.

In court documents made public Monday, police said Griffin went into an Adams Morgan alley to buy marijuana from a group of young men shortly after midnight Saturday; when he returned, he said the men had attacked and robbed him at gunpoint, taking his black Helly Hansen jacket and an iPhone.

Griffin and two friends then walked to the Metro station to head home, according to the court documents, finding the group that had robbed him — there were perhaps as many as 12, police said — on the platform.

One of them, the court documents say, was wearing his jacket.

“Give me my jacket back!” Griffin said. “You’re going to have to see us!” replied the teen who wore it, the documents say. After an argument, members of the group attacked one of the people with Griffin, according to the documents.

Griffin and another person he was with made for the station manager’s kiosk, the court papers said, but then Griffin went back to aid the one who remained on the platform. The other told investigators he lost sight of Griffin after reaching the station manager.

According to the court documents, a police officer watched Metro security footage that shows what happened next: While Griffin engaged one teen in a boxing-style fistfight, Myers snuck up behind him with a knife, stabbed him in the chest and ran away.

Myers denied a role in the robbery of Griffin, the documents said.

A second victim, whom police have not named, was also attacked. The second victim was taken to the hospital in stable condition. Friends identified him as a fellow teammate.

Counselors were available at Sherwood High School on Monday to help those grieving, said Dana Tofig, spokesman for Montgomery County Public Schools.

Parents of children who might need more assistance coping with Griffin’s death can contact the school, he said.

Avis Kapepula, one of Griffin’s neighbors, said her son Daniel played pick-up basketball when they weren’t playing football.

“Right there on the steps, they’d sit and talk,” she said, nodding towards the stoop two doors down from her house.

“We needed more guys like him. We’re all shocked.”

Gazette staff writer Kate S. Alexander contributed to this report as did Washington Post staff writers Martin Weil, Michael Laris and Peter Hermann.

sjbsmith@gazette.net

kalexander@gazette.net