Malik Grayson at a football game in middle school

The 14-year-old Berkeley freshman who was shot in the head by his best friend on Saturday has died, according to Berkeley High School Principal Pasquale Scuderi.

Larry Malik Grayson, who went by the name Malik, died Thursday at Highland Hospital after lingering on life support for many days. Grayson was a freshman in the Academic Choice program at Berkeley High. He was on Berkeley High’s freshman football team and had also played football at Willard Middle School, according to some friends.

“Unfortunately, things like this happen. They are tragic, they are sad, the can be crushing and there are kids here today who are crushed,” Scuderi said Friday morning as he prepared to inform students about Grayson’s death during morning announcements.  “But death and tragedy are part of life,” Scuderi continued, “and one of the things I will try to convey… is that we must take care of ourselves, our kids and our community today.”

Grayson was shot around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 30 while at the home of a good friend, a 17-year-old who lived in the 1500 block of Alcatraz. After the shooting, the 17-year-old called 911 and walked into the front courtyard of his apartment complex, where some neighbors said he was crying and distressed and his shirt was splattered with blood. The boy waited for police, who took him to the police department for questioning.

A few hours after the shooting, the 17-year-old’s grandmother said she thought it was an accident. She said her grandson, who was a member of the Berkeley High junior varsity football team,  was not the type of boy to get into trouble on the street. The 17-year-old has since withdrawn from the school, said Scuderi.

On Thursday, the 17-year-old, whose name police did not release because he is a juvenile, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. Sgt. Mary Kusmiss of the Berkeley Police Department said the charge would be changed to murder if the 14-year-old died.

The juvenile division of the Alameda County District Attorney’s office had not formally filed charges as of Thursday.

Around 9 p.m. on Thursday, word of  Grayson’s death leaked out to the Berkeley High community, who immediately started posting messages on Facebook and Twitter.

“FUCCCCCCK another young one gone jst like that. r.i.p malik i can’t believe this shit. foreaaal,” one person wrote on Twitter.

“rip malik. i didn’t really know you, but what happened is terrible. no one deserves what happened to you,” wrote another.

“R.I.P LARRY MALIIK GRAYSON!!!,” wrote another friend on Facebook. ” ii knw ur iin a better place & iits tiime 4 meh 2 lett qoo cnt stp cryiin.thse 14yrs wass very speciial 2 everyone tht knew u.even th0 ii thiink iits nt ur tiime qod hass called u hme iill see u on thee otha siide.please watch ova prayers qoes out 2 thee grayson famiily LARRY MALIIK GRAYSON II lVE U, no matter watt u wiill NEVER B REPLACED!”

“I’m sick and tired of all this senceless killing and shooting,” wrote another friend on his Facebook wall.

Students at Berkeley High spent time in classes during the week making cards for Grayson, according to one BHS parent. Large posters were also pinned to walls and students were invited to write down thoughts for Grayson and his family. Grief counselors will be available at the school today, said Scuderi.

Malik Grayson’s Facebook picture
Malik Grayson’s Facebook picture

Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...