A Hayward man went to a Target store to buy gifts for his children on Christmas Eve, but was stabbed to death in front of his 4-year-old son.
The victim, identified as Tyrone Griffin Jr., was attacked after he confronted a pair of men who were allegedly playing inappropriate music in the toy section, a witness said. Two men are in custody in connection with the 36-year-old man's death.
Sgt. Ruben Pola said Griffin Jr. was seen fighting inside the store on Whipple Road at 8 p.m. Dec. 24, shortly before the stabbing.
The witness said he saw Griffin Jr. put one man in a headlock, but was punched or stabbed repeatedly by another man. When Griffin Jr. lifted up his shirt, the witness said he was bleeding badly. The victim then crossed into the food aisle and went into shock in front of his child, he said.
When police arrived at the store, they helped take the father-of-four to Eden Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
She wrote: "Words can't describe the pain I feel inside. My heart continues to beat but I don't feel alive. My children wake up on Christmas Day. But their father was killed the night before and I don't know what to say. How do I explain to my children that their father will no longer be coming home."
According to Simmons, one of the couple's children, Josh, had more presents than his sister Jade — a situation that Griffin Jr. set out to rectify.
Simmons said Griffin Jr. had promised her that this would be "the greatest Christmas ever." To that end, he spent hours putting up the family's Christmas tree, setting up a train set, hanging lights and decorating the house.
"I think at times he was more excited than the kids," Simmons wrote. "Who would have ever thought these last minute gifts would cost him his life. What type of person would take a life in front of a child. My children are fatherless because of a thoughtless act of rage. Something that could have been totally avoided just by walking away."
As of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, 46 people had helped raised $2,225 of Simmons's $8,000 goal.
Within hours of Saturday's stabbing, police arrested two men on the 30000 block of Industrial Parkway whom they they believe were responsible for Griffin Jr.'s death. Pola did not elaborate what links the suspects to the homicide.
Police said that they spent Tuesday in meetings with prosecutors from the Alameda County District Attorney's Office. The suspects will not be identified until that process has been completed and they have been officially charged, they said.
The stabbing was Hayward's 13th homicide of the year.