Mom mourns Queens tobacco shop worker shot dead by scammers who left for just $150: ‘You shouldn’t have taken your life’
A grief-stricken mother of a tobacconist in Queens denounces the ‘senseless’ killing of her son during a robbery at gunpoint in which the scammers got off with just $150.
“More than $150? It wasn’t worth it,” victim Darius Clarke’s mother, Keisha Clarke, said Sunday. “It was not worth taking a life for $150. My child cost over $150.”
Darius Clarke, 20, was shot dead while working at The Plug’s smokehouse on Jamaica Avenue near 110th Street in Richmond Hill when three men raided it around 12:15 p.m. Saturday.
According to his mother, he had two brothers and a sister and was the eldest of the siblings.
“He was a very funny person. He was very happy. He liked to play his video games. He loved his brothers and sister,” she said. “He wanted to go back to school, he wanted to be an aspiring rapper… Every day he just left, went to work, came back and played his games.”
Darius Clark helped his sister to organize the Sweet 16 party this Friday. According to the police, he had no criminal record.
“I still can’t believe my son is gone,” Keisha said. “I was just in shock because he left for work yesterday morning. He wasn’t a gangster. He didn’t have problems with anyone, so it’s just shocking and pointless.”
One of the scammers was brandishing a gun while two of his accomplices began grabbing THC and tobacco products during the 12:15 p.m. robbery, police said. The gunman opened fire, hitting Darius Clark in the chest.
The robbers scooped up the stolen items in their hands as they made their escape, dropping some herbal products as they rushed into their getaway car, a white Toyota Camry.
The driver of the Camry drove north on 110th Street, police said. The police made no arrests.
Keisha Clark said she learned of her son’s death about two hours after the robbery.
“One of his friends came and told us that he had already been shot,” she said. “But we didn’t know he was dead until my husband went to the police.”
The police confirmed that the scammers managed to take only $100 in cash and $50 in goods with them.
“I stayed up all night,” Keisha Clarke said. “They don’t think about the victim’s family or who they hurt.”
“The store only opened in the fall and has been there since it opened,” she added. “I was not bothered by his work there. He used to work elsewhere, so he’s been working for a while.”
Only three stores in New York City are licensed to sell cannabis, and they are all in Manhattan, according to a spokesman for the state’s Office of Cannabis Management.
Back in January, Mayor Adams criticized rules that prevent police officers from taking action against unlicensed marijuana shops and said their cash-only use has led to an increase in robberies.
“They create some of the spikes that we see in commercial robberies,” he said. His remarks come about two weeks after a salesman at an unlicensed weed shop on the Lower East Side was injured during a robbery.
“They just need to find a way to wrest this weapon from the hands of these little kids. My son didn’t have to lose his life over something so pointless,” Keisha Clarke said. “You hear about these things on the news, but it never crosses your mind that it could be your child.”
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