Hundreds Attend Vigil for Greg Najee Grimes

Deborah Grimes talks about her son Greg Najee Grimes during a vigil in his memory held July 5 at Inderkum High School. / Photo

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

Updated July 11, 2022

More than 500 people filled the Inderkum High School football stadium bleachers Tuesday evening to remember former student and assistant coach Greg Najee Grimes.

Greg Najee Grimes

Grimes, 31, was killed in a shooting just before 2 a.m. on July 4 outside of a nightclub in downtown Sacramento.

The three-hour candlelight vigil was at times both somber and joyful as family, friends, former classmates, coaches and teammates remembered the man born a preemie and who was later larger than life.

According to family, “Najee” — weighed only 3 pounds and 2 ounces at birth but grew up to play high school and college football wearing jersey No. 91.

“He was phenomenal, an exaggerated role model, a stand up young man,” Inderkum football coach Reggie Harris told those gathered in the stands. “The key to him was love and kindness.”

Playing for the Tigers, Grimes was named Inderkum High lineman of the year and Golden Empire League – All Conference in 2005. The following year he was again Inderkum High’s lineman of the year and named to the Sacramento Bee’s All-Metro Football 2nd team.

Grimes was a role model, former coach Terry Stark told the crowd.

“He was good and strong, the way he handled himself,” Stark said. “He started the way the Inderkum students act and behave in the athletic program on this campus because the younger guys watched him, they saw how Greg acted on the field and in the classroom.”

In 2007, Grimes was Inderkum’s MVP, picked for the Sacramento Bee’s All-Metro Football 1st team, all-state 2nd team and named the Tri-County Conference’s most valuable player.

Grimes graduated from Inderkum in 2008 and signed to play football as a defensive lineman at Boise State University. He graduated from Boise State in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication.

Grimes had Just paid off his student loans and was only one day from closing escrow on his first home when he died.

“We have to tell you just how much Najee loved life,” his mother Deborah Grimes said. “He was so happy.”

Four other men were injured at the time Grimes was killed. According to police, detectives have retrieved video surveillance, collected 11 shell casings and identified multiple witnesses during their investigation however have not released any suspect information.

A memorial fundraiser has been created by Grimes’s family on GoFundMe at At press time, no arrests had been made in connection with the shooting.

Hundreds of people attended the vigil held at the Inderkum High football stadium. / Photo

Vigil attendees write messages in memory of Greg Najee Grimes. /

Sacramento activist Berry Accius called on attendees to make changes to end violent deaths in the city. / Photo

Current Inderkum football coach Reggis Harris described Grimes as an “exaggerated role model.” / Photo

Former Inderkum football coach Terry Stark talked about how Grimes influenced younger players. /

Vice Mayor Angelique Ashby speaks to the crowd. She’s joined by Natomas school board members Lisa Kaplan and Ericka Harden and Sacramento County Office of Education school board member Karina Talamantes. / Photo

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg at the vigil said his “heart breaks” for the Grimes family. /

Hundreds of the people at the vigil held candles and cell phones in memory of Grimes. / Photo

Greg Najee Grimes’s family, including his son, attended the vigil. / Photo Photo

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