Sean Brown, 18, was indicted by a grand jury and arraigned in Queens Supreme Court on murder and weapons charges for the killing of 14-year-old Aamir Griffin in 2019, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced on Wednesday, Sept. 8, along with NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison at the Baisley Park Houses basketball courts in South Jamaica.
The reputed gang member allegedly sought to shoot and kill a rival on the very same basketball courts when he mistook the high school freshman for his intended target.
“At the very bare minimum, when our kids go to the park, families should know they are coming home,” Katz said. “Death by gun violence is always heartbreaking. The death of Aamir Griffin hit our community particularly hard.”
Katz described Griffin as a “promising young student and athlete whose life was tragically cut short.”
“Aamir Griffin was the unintended victim. His family and friends are still reeling from his killing,” Katz said. “After a thorough investigation, the alleged killer now faces justice in our courts.”
Brown, of Jamaica, was arraigned Wednesday before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder on an indictment charging him with murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. Brown was ordered held without bail and given a return date of Sept. 14.
If convicted, he faces up to 25 years to life in prison.
Katz said that around 8 p.m. on Oct. 26, 2019, Aamir Griffin was playing basketball at the Baisley Park Houses. From nearby Foch Boulevard, Brown allegedly mistook the youngster for a rival gang member and allegedly fired three shots from a .380-caliber firearm.
One bullet penetrated Griffin’s upper chest, piercing both lungs. Griffin was rushed by EMS to Jamaica Hospital and died a short time later.
“Aamir Griffin was a child of New York City, a kid who was loved and taken much too soon by the kind of senseless gun violence we fight against every hour of every day,” NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said. “Nothing could erase the pain of Aamir’s murder nearly to years ago, but our NYPD investigators and our partners in the Queens district attorney’s office never forget or give up and today we have an indictment that offers one measure of justice.”
Video footage allegedly shows Brown running from the area after the shots were fired, entering a nearby deli and walking to the home of another reputed Money World gang member. Surveillance video also picks up Brown allegedly telling others, “I seen that n—-, I hit him. That n—- drop.”
Investigators tracked Brown down recently in Los Angeles before he was extradited back to Queens by NYPD detectives last weekend.
“All homicides are very important to the NYPD but this one hit close to home to me,” Harrison said. “I grew up a mile away from here. I played basketball here on the same basketball court. Me and Aamir went to the very same high school, Benjamin Cardozo. Ladies and gentlemen, I am Aamir Griffin.”
Legendary basketball coach Ron Naclerio, who would have coached the youngster at Cardozo, attended the press briefing at Baisley Park Houses.
“It is unfortunate Aamir couldn’t be here looking forward to starting his junior year, looking at Division 1 colleges and possibly a future at the NBA,” Naclerio said. “I am happy for the family that they got the suspect off the street. I hope it doesn’t happen again.”
Additional reporting by Lloyd Mitchell.