Greg Najee Grimes never forgot his roots – or his family.
The 31-year-old former Inderkum High School and Boise State University football star returned to coach at his high school after college and worked with children in special education until last December, when started a recruiting business and began planning for the rest of his life.
“He was really super excited, he just started,” his mother, Deborah, said of her only son with husband, Gregory Grimes. “He was in receivership closing on a new house last week, just paid off his student loans last week, just paid off his car last week.”
And he was looking forward to a special Fourth of July celebration for his 4-year-old son, Jaceyon, or “Ace”, making sure his mum collected the exact fireworks display on Sunday for her son to enjoy.
Grimes never participated in this celebration. Instead, he was killed early Monday leaving the Mix Downtown nightclub at 16th and L streets when gunfire erupted outside and he was hit with three bullets in the chest, his mother said. . Four other people were injured in the morning shooting.
“He walked down the stairs and he was waiting for the others to come out,” his mother said. “He called one of the friends twice, but as they were walking down the stairs, they didn’t answer.
“And then they heard the shots and when they got to the door they saw him on the ground. They said he was having a good time. There were no clashes. Everything everyone was just having a good time. They were just celebrating that it was going to be the 4th of July.
Grimes was taken to UC Davis Medical Center, where doctors worked to save him as friends and family gathered in hopes of the best, his mother said.
“They worked on him for about 20 minutes trying to do CPR and then when they got to the hospital they tried more to resuscitate him,” she said. “They opened up his chest cavity to try to massage his heart, so he was really trying. They took him to surgery, but he never regained consciousness. He did not succeed.
“We had no idea. We didn’t expect what they were going to say. We thought they were going to say, ‘OK, he was shot and he asked his parents to come’. That’s what we expected. We did not know.”
Grimes was the victim of a shooting in 2017
Grimes had already survived a previous shooting at a downtown nightclub in 2017, when gunman Adrian Calderon shot Grimes in the neck and injured a security guard at the Parlare Euro Lounge. Calderon was convicted and sentenced in 2019 to 35 years and four months in prison, according to Bee’s records.
But Grimes’ mother said she does not believe her son was targeted on Monday.
“He’s never been on the streets or anything, he doesn’t have that kind of experience,” she said. “You would never think someone like him would be murdered. He just doesn’t fit the profile of a troublemaker or anything like that.
“His former high school coach Terry Stark from Inderkum just called, he’s just in tears, he’s just broken,” she said.
Another coach, Todd Hamasaki, shared his disbelief at the loss.
“He was an amazing coach and a role model for so many kids and wanted to do what he did – coach,” Hamasaki said.
Grimes was already mourning the loss of his close friend, Giovanni “DJ Gio” Pizano, who was killed in an April shooting with another man in the Natomas Crossing area of Sacramento.
“I can’t explain how devastating it is right now,” Grimes’ mother said. “It’s extremely surreal. He was just mourning his friend DJ Gio.
Grimes leaves behind a 4-year-old son
Grimes shared custody of his son with the boy’s mother, and the family had yet to tell the boy on Monday morning what had happened to his father, who was described as a doting father.
“His son just finished T-ball, it was his first team sport,” Deborah Grimes said. “His son was preparing to start kindergarten in August. He’ll be 5 next month, and it was all a big deal, everything was a big deal. He wanted to see him play Pop Warner. He was delighted that his son could turn 5 and play football.
Grimes came from a football background. His father was a fierce safety for the University of Washington Huskies for coach Don James’ teams in the 1970s, and Deborah Grimes said her son wanted to be like him.
Grimes, known as Najee to his parents and Greg to his friends, was Inderkum High’s first scholarship player in any sport, and regularly visited and spoke to teachers and students throughout his career. college years, where he played as a defensive tackle and appeared in two Fiesta Balls.
“He was Academic All American in Boise, but he also graduated with honors and was the first student-athlete at Inderkum to earn a scholarship,” she said. “He was everything in the first team. He has many accolades. »
His mother said he remained close to his Boise State teammates, many of whom went on to pursue NFL careers.
“He’s got friends all over the NFL that he’s just stayed close with, and when I say close, I mean they send their kids Christmas presents,” she said. “At the hospital there were friends he went to kindergarten with. His friends are friends, they stay friends, they all stay close.
“He’s like a glue, he holds a lot of other people together.”
Grimes was also particularly close to her parents, visiting their home four to five days a week, her mother said.
“He’s really a mama’s boy and a daddy’s boy because he’s our only child,” she said. “He has a floral subscription so he can randomly send me flowers. He’s just pure.
Deborah Grimes said she hoped someone from the public would respond to calls from Sacramento police with information about the shooting. The police tweeted a QR code which allows witnesses to the event to submit video to assist investigators.
“We are both very praying for someone to say something about the shooter,” Deborah Grimes said, adding that she last spoke to her son on Sunday night.
“He just Facetimed me last night around 10:30 p.m., and he told me how really excited he was to be at the fireworks today with his son,” she said. “We had taken his son to pick up the fireworks, so we were like, ‘Yeah, we got them all, we got what you wanted.
“He’s just a very involved dad.”
Joe Davidson of The Bee contributed to this story.
This story was originally published July 4, 2022 10:48 a.m.