In Harm's Way: Remembering the Life of Xavier Granville

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Xavier Granville, 17, was shot and killed on the last Friday of the year as he left a birthday party in Queens. The exuberant teen, who lived with his mother and stepdad in Far Rockaway, was known for his mastery at X-Box video games and devouring a bowl of cereal after eating a four-course meal. 

He was one of the unlucky ones in a year of record-low homicides.

Shikara Granville recently stood in her son’s room in the back corner of their two bedroom apartment in the Beach 41st Houses.

"He's messy like any normal kid he throws his clothes up there and I come in here and fold them up,” she said, as she held his red and blue striped Polo sweater close to her body.  

She hasn’t touched his room since he was killed.

In pictures around the house, Zay or Rozay as he was called can be seen sporting a hat and a Hollywood smile.  

Granville, 37, recalled her only child was born loving the water. "I took him to the pool at West 4th and he did not want to get out and he was crying we had to stay for the whole session,” she said.

Granville explained that his penchant for getting wet turned into a morning bathroom ritual where he’d literally fall asleep in the shower. She said it was that passion for water that made him want to become a marine biologist.

His parents remember Zay as energetic and prone to accidents. But more than broken bones, Granville began to fear for his safety in the neighborhood by the time he was a young teenager.

"We could fight and I may beat you up or you may beat me up — why you got to go pick up a gun? These are kids you grew up with — literally, been in your house," his mom said.

(Photo: Granville holds up one of Xavier's favorite sweaters./Stan Gaz for WNYC)

A year ago Xavier was shot on the leg in the lobby of his own building. The police say they believe he was affiliated with a gang, but his parents countered that wasn't the kid they knew. While he was arrested a number of times, his folks noted that he had no felonies on his record, and many of the arrests were for trespassing in their own building.

Still, around that time, they decided to have him home schooled out of fears for his safety. Granville said things for the family were looking up when they were approved for a housing transfer away from Far Rockaway. But it came too late. The teen was shot in the head by two masked gunmen 25 blocks away from home.

When they rushed to find him, in the chaos, they were directed to the wrong hospital. They found him hours later at St. John's hospital.

"My son is laying behind that curtain dead. They didn’t even have the decency to clean him up,” said Granville, with tears in her eyes.

The NYPD has arrested two suspects in the case. Xavier was buried at New Jersey’s Rosehill Cemetery on Tuesday.

WNYC is profiling the life of every child in the city killed by gunfire in our series In Harm’s Way.

Courtesy of Shikara Granville
Xavier as a young teen.
Courtesy of Shikara Granville
Baby Xavier who was born 2 months early.
Courtesy of Shikara Granville.
Shikara Granville and her beloved son.
Stan Gaz for WNYC
Granville and husband Zachary Cobb.
Stan Gaz for WNYC
One of Xavier’s hobbies was playing video games with his friends. These two joysticks are in his undisturbed room.
Stan Gaz for WNYC
Stepbrother Kamel Howard, 14, outside Xavier’s Brooklyn funeral service on Monday evening.
Stan Gaz for WNYC
Xavier’s mother and stepfather outside his funeral.


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Comments [12]

Tee Adonis

Hey lady, It's over a year later, but I just wanted you to know that I haven't forgot about you are the daily agony your heart is going through. May the joy of the Lord be your strength. luv ya <3

Feb. 12 2014 02:17 PM
tisha from farrockaway

Forever in my heart my little right hand bro i love u zay in miss u each everuday

May. 24 2013 11:14 PM
Anonymous From Brooklyn from brooklyn

So since u know for fact that these are not the boys who did this then step up and make a change an say some thing to help these young men so them and they families won't have to suffer but instead you would rather get up here and dry snitch.....they killed that lady only son and she could never get him back but I think u know that them kids was their to an if they come out an tell they are going have to tell should have kept your comment to yourself think before you talk.....

May. 09 2013 03:04 PM

Vero, who the hell are you to pass judgment. You could have kept that negative sh*t to yourself. Smdh.

May. 02 2013 06:51 PM
Anonymous One from California

I send my condolences to Xavier's family, but I must say that the boys arrested for the crime were not the guys who did it. I know this for a fact. Its not fair that not only does the family of Xavier have to suffer, but the families of the wrongfully accused are suffering too. Before people start pointing fingers and saying nasty things about them, they should gather facts first.

May. 02 2013 06:39 PM
Dae from Orlando, Fl

My heart hurts for Kira. I known Kira since I moved to Far Rockway 40 projects in 07. She was always loving,caring, laughing, joking and loved to cook. Kira used to always invite me to play cards in her apt and chill. Kira would always tell me "Daisy you a funny mother *****. I loved bugging out with Kira. The bond she had w Zay was amazing like they were friends first then mother to son and I loved that. She always kept it real with Zay. We would trade plates and Zay was always caring and respectful.He was the type to tell his friends to watch their language around grown-ups. He used to help me when I had grocery bags, chill in our crib, watch movies with us and look out for me all the time. He was always in the Center playing basketball with the fellas and never missed a day. I'm happy they caught the guys and they will reap what they sow. May GOD bless Kira and give her the strength she needs to overcome this tragedy. Kira stay strong mama and always remember you got your guardian angels looking over u. Zay is with his sister now and wouldn't want you crying any more ok. I LOVE U KIRA N MISS U DEARLY. I will def call u when I go back to NY this summer.

Luv always

Mar. 06 2013 11:47 AM

I would like to take this time out to thank erryone who send they condolences to me......I miss my son erry single minute n second of the day I know God has arms wrapped around

Feb. 18 2013 03:16 AM

My heart Goes Out to his Family me and his moms known each other for a long time shes a good parent and its sad!!!im very glad they caught them Hang!!!!There ASS!! Until They Turn BLUE R>I>P> Xavier Granville

Feb. 10 2013 07:48 PM
Neil from Austin

Thank you for this. It brought tears to my eyes.

Jan. 09 2013 05:49 PM
marcella from NY

My heart cries out for your loss. May you find comfort in family, friends and your faith. RIP young man, gone too soon.

Jan. 09 2013 04:25 PM
mdm from UWS

Thank you for this series. It's heartbreaking and so necessary. Thoughts are with the Granville family.

Jan. 09 2013 01:52 PM
Shannon Kelly

Thank you to Kathleen Horan for doing the difficult work of profiling the children in this series. I'm very sorry for Xavier Granville's family.

Jan. 09 2013 11:14 AM

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