Pahokee football game: Venue changed after murder

Published: Sep. 30, 2008 at 2:27 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 30, 2008 at 2:37 PM EDT
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Norman Griffith
Norman Griffith

By Chuck Weber email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

PAHOKEE, FL (WFLX) - As students and teachers at Pahokee High grieve the killing of football standout Norman Griffith, detectives are trying to solve the young man's murder. Security concerns raised by the shooting have already prompted a change of venue for another school's game.

Palm Beach County School District spokesman Nat Harrington tells Fox 29, Glades Central's big homecoming match-up versus Dwyer High set for this Friday night, has been moved "for the security and safety of all involved". Harrington says the game will be played Saturday morning at 10:30 at Palm Beach Central High in Wellington.

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Teri Barbera said Monday afternoon her department is aggressively working the Griffith murder, but needs the public to come forward with information.

Griffith, age 18, had just celebrated his team's homecoming game victory this past Friday night and was with friends attending a dance at a Belle Glade community center. The Sheriff's Office says as Griffith tried to drive away from the event, someone came up and shot him in the head, killing him.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Barbera said reports linking the shooting to gang activity or Griffith wearing Pahokee High colors, are premature. "We know that he was wearing his school colors," said Barbera. "But the fact that he was killed because he was wearing his school colors is completely and totally taken out of context." Barbera also reiterated Griffith had never been in trouble with the law and neither had his family. Griffith was being recruited to play football at several colleges.

At Pahokee High, the school district said dozens of students and staff spoke with grief counselors who were on hand. In spite of losing their teammate, members of the football squad practiced as scheduled. Pahokee coach Blaze Thompson said the team needed to be together as "football family".

Since the funeral for Griffith will not be held this weekend, Coach Thompson said the team had decided to go ahead and travel to South Carolina for a nationally televised game this coming Friday night. Thompson says the team will dedicate its season to Griffith.