D.C.

Olijawon Griffin killed at Woodley Park Metro station

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Bouquets of flowers, and several condolence cards sit on the front stoop of the Olney townhouse where 18-year old Olijawon Griffin lived.

Olijawon Griffin, 18, of Olney, Maryland died from stab wounds.
Olijawon Griffin, 18, of Olney, Md. died from stab wounds. (Family photo)

The residence has been quiet most of the weekend, with few visitors, as the Griffin family mourns the loss of a young man with so much promise.

"It's horrible," says Isaiah Hollins, Griffin's older brother. "He loved everybody. Not one person he didn't get along with."

Griffin's family and friends are still reeling from his violent death early Saturday.

Family members say around 1 a.m., Griffin was walking in Adams Morgan with his friend, 18-year old Isaac Chase, and a cousin, when he was attacked not once, but twice by a group of teens.

"When he got around the corner, they jumped him for his jacket," Hollins says. "After he gave up his jacket, they beat him."

Friends say the Helly Hansen jacket, costing hundreds of dollars, held a special significance for Griffin.

He had proudly purchased it shortly after getting a paycheck from his new job at National Institutes of Health in Rockville.

After graduating from Sherwood High School with the class of 2012, Hollins says his brother had plans to attend classes at Montgomery College, dreaming of launching a career in sports medicine or physical therapy.

"He was one of the good kids," recalls one neighbor. "He really was. Everybody says that, but he really was."

Those hopes were dashed abruptly and tragically Saturday morning.

After the attack, Hollins says, Griffin, now without his prized jacket - cold, shaken, and tired - just wanted to go home.

Police and family accounts say he, Chase, and the cousin walked to the Woodley Park Metro station, took the escalator underground - and encountered the same teens who had mugged him minutes before.

"They seen the boys and they were like, 'you going to have to fight me'. Then my brother said, 'I'm really not going to fight you,'" Hollins says.

"At that time, there was a second altercation which occurred between the decedent and nine suspects, some of whom were believed to have been involved in the original robbery," says MPD Lt. Robert Alder.

Witnesses told police moments later, Griffin lay dying, stabbed in the abdomen. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Chase, with a broken nose and other facial injuries, was treated and released.

A Griffin family member says in the midst of the attack, the cousin ran to get help.

Officers, responding to the report of an aggravated assault, sealed off the Woodley Park station, and rounded up nine teenaged suspects, aged 15 to 17.

A police report says the attack involved knives.

"We're really heartbroken. It's so unexpected, so unbelieveable," says Pardieu Kapepula, a neighbor and schoolmate of Griffin's.

"It's so senseless," she adds, referring to the teen suspects. "What did you get out of it, you're not going to be able to wear the coat now."

She and others recalled Griffin's smile, his work as an honors student at Sherwood High, and his exploits as a defensive player for the school football team, the Warriors.

And now, a life cut short.

"He was doing fine the last few months," says Christion Moody, a friend. "It was really hard to believe. It was devastating."

Investigators say eight of the accused teens face assault and/or robbery charges.

A ninth suspect, just 17 years old, faces a murder charge.

A judge is to determine Monday whether he'll be tried as an adult.

Amid their sadness and grief, Griffin's friends are planning a vigil at a ballfield near his home.

"Just keep him in memory," Hollins says.

"It still hasn't sunk in yet," Kapepula says quietly. "We just feel like it's a bad dream, and we're going to wake up from it. That's not the case."

A candelight vigil for Griffin will be held Monday evening.

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