BROOKLYN (PIX11) -- Glenda Martin-Grant, an immigrant from Trinidad, tried to do everything right: she raised three sons alone, educated them, and educated herself -- getting a nurse-practitioner’s degree and serving as a professor at SUNY Downstate.
Her youngest son, Gerard Grant, was a success story at age 23, a top event planner and model, with ten thousand followers on Instagram.
“I didn’t even know that my son was a celebrity and so popular,” Glenda Grant told PIX11 Investigates.
She didn’t know, until after his execution-style murder.
Gerard Grant was handing out fliers outside the E-Savoy nightclub on Flatbush Avenue, in the early hours of January 18, 2014, a Saturday. He was promoting a Valentine’s Day party coming up in February.
Grant left the club around 4 a.m., heading with his business partner to a woman’s house in Midwood, Brooklyn. The woman had called requesting tickets for the Valentine’s Day party, but the GPS took Grant’s Toyota to a dead end on Avenue I and East 16th Street, right near the railroad tracks.
“He wasn’t paying attention,” said Detective Mike Gaynor of the 70 Detective Squad recently, “and someone came from behind ... that was it.”
Multiple gunshots from a 9 mm automatic weapon were fired into Grant’s head and body from close range. His partner, sitting in the passenger seat, was left paralyzed in the shooting.
Grant was dead at the scene.
“That coward came behind my son’s back and shot him,” Glenda Grant said.
Police told Ms. Grant they found nothing negative in her son’s background. “They said ‘Your son is the cleanest young guy we know, at age 23,’” the still-grieving mother recalled.
The Grant family thinks jealousy was a motive in the shooting.
“I tell everybody: Hatred, envy and jealousy is real,” the victim’s mother said. When PIX11 asked if she thought success did her son in, she didn’t hesitate. “Definitely! He was six feet six, handsome. He was going to school, and he was excelling in every, single thing he did.”
The NYPD showed PIX11 Investigates surveillance footage from Grant’s last car ride.
A camera picks up Grant’s Toyota on Avenue I, near Ocean Avenue. Then, another car appeared, which could be a dark Infiniti—and it was following Grant’s car. Police think the shooter was in this second car. A bicycle rider then came along, behind the suspect’s vehicle.
“He was right behind it, seconds behind the dark-colored vehicle,” Detective Gaynor said of the bike rider. “We’d like to speak to him, too.”
Grant’s Toyota smashed into several other cars.
A surveillance camera then picked up a grainy image of a car fleeing the area a block away, at Avenue J and East 15th Street.
Grant’s older brother, Gary, remembered that Gerard had picked up Gary’s daughter at school, on the last Friday of his life.
“He was me, when I wasn’t here,” said Gary Grant, who works in financial services and was traveling in Los Angeles on business, when his brother was killed.
It was Gary Grant who had to fly home and make the identification at the morgue.
“He was just in a little box, in a freezer,” Gary Grant said. “You got to go to a certain, dark place to kill someone, because they’re doing better than you—or over a girl.”
The NYPD Crime Stoppers unit is offering a $12,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction. Tipsters receive a code number and can collect their cash with that code, if they help solve the case.
Gerard mother has kept his bedroom intact, since his murder. The family belongs to the Seventh Day Adventist Church. A New Testament is open on Grant’s bed.
His event cards are lined up on his mirror. His hairbrushes are still lined up on the bureau. A crown—for the “nightlife prince”—sits on top of the urn holding Grant’s ashes.
His mother, who spent 23 years working in the Emergency Department at Kings County Hospital, noted a sad irony in the case.
“My son didn’t even reach the emergency room, for somebody to save his life,” Glenda told PIX11. “I thank God for the 23 years He gave me him. He was an exceptional son.”