Queens college grad fatally shot sitting in Range Rover he just leased for his mom
Just three weeks after leasing his beloved mother a Range Rover, a Queens college grad was shot to death sitting in the driver’s seat during a robbery, police and relatives said Monday.
“He wanted to do something special for his mama,” the victim’s father Kyle Griffin said of the generous gift from his slain 22-year-old son, also named Kyle Griffin.
“It’s just love — he thinks big and he always takes care of his mother . . . It shows you what kind of man you are by how you take care of your mother.”
The son was in the driver’s seat of the white SUV parked near 41st St. and 30th Ave. in Astoria when two men confronted him at about 10:05 p.m. Sunday, police said. One of the men opened fire, striking Griffin twice in the back.
Accounts vary about whether the duo were in the car with Griffin when he was shot, sources said. Afterwards, the suspects were seen rummaging through the vehicle, the sources said.
Medics pulled Griffin out of the luxury vehicle and rushed him to Mount Sinai Queens but he couldn’t be saved, officials said.
“I’m so hurt,” the elder Griffin, 46, told the Daily News. “I haven’t eaten, slept. I can’t think. They took my only son from me.”
The killers ran off and have not been caught. They dropped a key to a BMW as they fled.
It was not immediately clear what the two men stole, police sources said.
Griffin was partying with friends at the Melody Lounge on Steinway St. since about 5 p.m. He wanted to leave early, but one of his friends convinced him to stick around until about 9:30 p.m., sources said.
When police responded to the shooting, a man approached the officers and handed one of them the BMW key. The cop pressed the alarm button to try and locate the car, ultimately finding it on Steinway St. near 30th Ave.
Griffin had already been taken to the hospital when police arrived.
The younger Griffin graduated last year from SUNY Albany, where he studied forensic science before moving on to business and marketing, the father said.
“God could never have given me a better first child,” the heartbroken father said. “Very generous, big hearted, very unselfish. Loved to look good, dress nice and help people as much as he can. He’s a mama’s boy, takes care of his parents. Has sisters that taught him love, very genuine love. He’s a great athlete, very well spoken, educated young man.”
The son had been living at home since college working on finding a way to start his entrepreneurial career. He had learned to manage properties and was trying to become a landlord. At the same time, he did fashion consulting — all while keeping an eye on his three younger sisters.
“He was always helping them with their studies,” the father said. “He was a babysitter and protector. It just hurts he left this earth at 22.”
The victim’s dream, his dad said, was to purchase a lounge. When he wasn’t busy with various projects, he was giving his father retirement advice.
“He told me the stimulus and all the money being passed around, that the country could go bankrupt or there wouldn’t be more money to go around, and I needed to save more and set myself up for retirement,” the dad said. “He had high standards. He wanted to drive a nice car. He always said, ‘Why can’t I have the best of everything? Because I deserve it.’”
A neighbor of the victim in Rosedale confirmed Griffin just bought the luxury vehicle about three weeks ago.
“You could tell it was a really special car,” said Kevin Ramontar, 21. “They normally park on the street but they kept that car in the driveway.”
Childhood friend Marcus Mills, 24, said Griffin had played football when he attended Benjamin Cardozo High School.
“He was a good kid, a stand up guy, very loyal to his family and his friends,” Mills said. “Damn, I just lost a brother.”
Mills said he could not think of a motive other than jealousy.
“People are envious and jealous,” Mills said. “He did a lot of business stuff. He invested in the right things, had good credit. He was becoming a man. People don’t like when you’re doing the right thing. He was a loyal friend and caring person. Everyone loved him — everyone in Queens loved him.”
Outside the Astoria shop where the shooting took place, residents and business owners said they were shocked.
“It makes me feel a little unsafe at night for sure,” said Nick Gaudio, 57, who owns Gaudio’s Pizza on 30th Ave. where the Range Rover was parked. “The neighborhood has been changing. People are saying that too. It’s disturbing.”
Ram Ali, 37, a clerk at a bodega on the corner, said the streets aren’t the same as they were five years ago when he started working at the store.
“This neighborhood used to be very nice but now there is too much drug dealing and gun fights,” Ali said. “It’s dangerous at night now.”
The victim’s father said he wants the killers caught — but knows that won’t change much.
“There is nothing that nobody could do to bring him back,” he said, “I’d give you my life savings. I need my son back. You took him too early, pulled the plug on him too early. He didn’t even have the chance to be a dad yet. I was looking forward to that. He had no children because he was a focused man, very disciplined, wasn’t wasteful, worked hard.”
He said his wife is even more devastated by the death of their son.
“I don’t even know how I’m going to recover from it,” he said. “She’s going crazy. We are actually planning a funeral for my only son. It just hurts.”