The heartbroken mother of a Queens tobacco store worker is speaking out against the “senseless” murder of her son during a holdup at gunpoint in which the robbers got away with just $150.
“Over $150? It wasn’t worth it,” the victim’s mother, Daryus Clarke, Kiesha Clarke, said Sunday. “It wasn’t worth taking a life for $150. My son was worth more than $150.”
Daryus Clarke, 20, was shot and killed while working inside The Plug, a tobacco store on Jamaica Ave. near 110th St. in Richmond Hill, when three men broke into the location around 12:15 p.m. Saturday.
He had two brothers and a sister and was the oldest of the children, his mother said.
“He was a very jovial person. He was very happy. He liked to play video games about him. He loved his brothers and sister,” he said. “He wanted to go back to school, he wanted to be an aspiring rapper…every day he would just leave, he would go to work, come back and play his games.”
Daryus Clarke was helping to organize his sister’s Sweet 16 party for this Friday. She had no criminal record, police said.
“I still can’t believe my son is gone,” Keisha said. “He was in shock because he left yesterday morning to go to work. He was not a gang member. He had no issues with anyone, so it’s shocking and pointless.”
One of the robbers brandished a gun while his two accomplices began stealing THC and tobacco products during the 12:15 p.m. heist, police said. The gunman opened fire, hitting Daryus Clarke in the chest.
The robbers piled the stolen goods in their arms as they fled, dropping some marijuana products as they rushed into their getaway car, a white Toyota Camry.
The driver of the Camry sped north on 110th Street, police said. Police have made no arrests.
Kiesha Clarke said she found out about her son’s death about two hours after the robbery.
“One of his friends came and told us that he had already been shot,” he said. “But we didn’t know he was dead until my husband spoke to the police.”
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Cops confirmed that the robbers got away with only $100 in cash and $50 in merchandise.
“I haven’t slept all night,” Kiesha Clarke said. “They don’t think about the family of the victim or who they are hurting.”
“The store just opened in the fall and he has been there since it opened,” she added. “I wasn’t worried that he worked there. He worked somewhere else before, so he’s been working for a while.”
Only three New York City stores are licensed to sell cannabis, all of them in Manhattan, according to a spokesperson for the state’s Office of Cannabis Management.
In January, Mayor Adams criticized rules that prevent police from taking action against unlicensed pot shops, saying their cash-based nature has led to an increase in robberies.
“They are creating some of the increases that we are seeing in commercial theft,” he said. His comments came about two weeks after an unlicensed clerk on the Lower East Side was shot and wounded during a holdup.
“They just need to find a way to get these guns out of the hands of these little kids. My son didn’t need to lose his life (over) something so senseless,” Kiesha Clarke said. “You hear these things on the news, but it never occurs to you that it could be your child.”