Trenton murder victim regretted his troubled past, his family says
A local street hustler describes Breion Greenfield as the type of person who “lived his life like every minute was his last.” Greenfield’s family describes him as a loving father who had a “playful side” underneath a “tough, street-wise” exterior. Police, though, describe him as a “stickup man” and “chronic armed robber.”
Breion Greenfield, 30, was murdered Wednesday in Martin Luther King Jr. Park. Police have not disclosed how many times Greenfield was struck, but sources say he was shot at least once in the chest. A man who was tinting windows on Proctor Avenue, about 50 yards away from where gunfire erupted in the park, said he heard about five gunshots.
What was supposed to be a Thanksgiving celebration filled with joy and family affection turned into a day of mourning and sorrowful reflection. Greenfield, who previously missed several holiday celebrations due to being incarcerated, had planned a Thanksgiving feast with family. He wasn’t an exceptional cook — fried chicken and fish is what he knew best — but he told his fiancee that he’d help her out as much as he could.
The Greenfield family canceled their Thanksgiving celebration after receiving news of Breion’s death. His mother Monica couldn’t find words to describe her grief, but other relatives spoke about Breion’s desire to change his life to become a better role model for his children.
“He said he didn’t want his son to be anything like him,” his fiancee Dora Watkins, who’s now left to raise their four kids alone, said. “He wanted to change for his son.”
Earlier this year, Greenfield was arrested for allegedly robbing a man on Union Street with an imitation Uzi. Days later, Greenfield escaped from custody. Wearing only a hospital gown, socks and handcuffs, Greenfield escaped from corrections officers while at Capital Health Regional Medical Center, where he was taken for unspecified medical attention. After wriggling one of his hands free from shackles, Greenfield led authorities on a chase through the city, breaking the window of a home on Nassau Street. He later forced his way into a home on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard before he was apprehended.
At the time of his death, Greenfield was out on bail. His fiancee said he was scheduled to appear in court next month for charges related to the escape, and that he was worried about the outcome.
“He was really stressed about possibly not being with us on Christmas because he might be in jail,” Watkins said.
Recently, Greenfield had spoken with several relatives about leaving the street life, and he told some of them that he regretted things he had done in the past. Greenfield was expected to testify as a state witness in the upcoming murder trial of Mikal Bush, who is accused of gunning down Hassan “Fozz” Peters in 2008. One of Greenfield’s relatives lived a door down from where Peters was shot on Bellevue Avenue, a place Greenfield often visited. Prosecutors believe Peters was an innocent bystander, caught in the crossfire of Bush’s alleged retaliation plot. At a pretrial hearing earlier this year, Greenfield testified that he used a 9mm handgun to rob Bush of heroin, a watch and $450 in cash on the same day Peters was killed.
“I want Fozz’s mom to know the truth,” Greenfield said in July. “It’s my fault. If it wasn’t for me, he’d still be alive. I did something I had no business doing. Fozz got shot over it.”
Bush, who is free on $600,000 bail, has maintained his innocence in Peters’ slaying. His trial is scheduled for May 2016. Greenfield was never charged for the robbery involving Bush because the statute of limitations expired, officials said.
“Breion didn’t know himself why he did bad things to other people,” his aunt Talaya Greenfield said. “When he got out of jail the last time, I thought he was going to change. But he didn’t have anyone to guide him in the right direction.”
The Greenfield’s are no strangers to tragically ill-timed deaths. Last year, Breion’s cousin Jamer was gunned down on Rosemont Avenue.
After Breion’s murder Wednesday, his family waited several hours at the hospital but were eventually told they couldn’t see his body because it had been shipped to the morgue. Perhaps it’s best they’re left with memories of him smiling and playing with his children, as opposed to lying on a gurney, or hospital bed, riddled with bullets.
“When I first saw Breion after he was born, he was so bright and had sparkling, beautiful eyes,” Talaya said. “I will never forget his eyes. No matter what he did to people, he didn’t deserve to die like that. He wanted to make things better, but he didn’t know which way to turn. He needed guidance, love and affection.”
Breion’s murder is the second homicide to occur in the capital city this week. On Tuesday morning, 19-year-old Elvin Kimble was killed during a shootout in Chambersburg. Police sources who spoke on condition of anonymity say Kimble was found wearing a ski mask, and that he still had a gun in his hand at the time of his death. Investigators believe Kimble planned a robbery, but was killed by his target.
Anyone with information about either of this week’s murders is asked to call the Mercer County Homicide Task Force at (609) 989-6406 or contact the Trenton Police confidential tip line at (609) 989-3663. Individuals may also call the Trenton Crime Stoppers tip line at (609) 278-8477. Those wishing to text a tip can send a message labeledTCSTIPS to Trenton Crime Stoppers at 274637.
-Trentonian reporter Isaac Avilucea contributed to this report.