Clemson shooting victim’s dad: ‘He wanted to help the world’

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comDecember 10, 2012 

— Steven Gregory Grich liked to mix his own music and create his own sounds while trying to devise ways to make energy free for everyone.

Chances are, the 23-year-old Clemson University junior – whose father compared him to Sheldon Cooper of the CBS comedy “The Big Bang Theory” – did all three simultaneously as he studied electrical engineering.

Math and science were “his life,” said his father, Steve Grich of Fort Mill, on Monday – two days after Steven Grich was shot and killed by an armed robber in his off-campus apartment.

Saturday night, police in Pickens County say, masked men entered Grich’s apartment in the town of Central, about two miles away from the Clemson campus, and shot him. Police say Grich did not know the attackers. .

On Facebook, friends created a memorial page titled “RIP Steven Gregory Grich.” Family, close friends and acquaintances posted on the page throughout Sunday and Monday, sharing memories of Grich “reinventing himself” and flashing his trademark smirk.

One woman posted that Grich was her first boyfriend in junior high school, compelling her to write, “I love Steven,” on her sneakers.

“Clearly, there are a lot of people upset about the tragedy,” said Clemson spokesman John Gouch. “I think it’s hit a lot of people hard just because it’s someone cut down in the prime of life.”

Sunday night, Clemson’s student affairs office held counseling sessions to help students deal with the stress of learning about Grich’s death right before final exams, which started Monday.

Grich was the first Clemson student this year to be killed in a violent crime, Gouch said. In October, Kohleigh Michelle Hunt, a 20-year-old Clemson senior, was killed in a three-car accident just north of Seneca.

Grich, born in Virginia before he and his family moved to Connecticut and then to South Carolina a couple of years ago, graduated from Connecticut’s Valley Regional High School, where his father said he faced several difficulties.

“Everyone” thought Grich was lazy and disinterested in school, his father said, until he took himself to a doctor and was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. The doctor prescribed medication that helped him focus, Steve Grich said.

Soon he was able to “multifunction,” his father said, concentrating on several tasks at one time. One of those tasks included using SoundCloud – an online distribution site that allows artists to record and share their own audio creations.

Under the screen name “Mandelbrot,” he produced 10 sounds, several with unique names like “Suroopanaka” and “God Complex.”

Grich went on to earn an associate’s degree in electrical technology from the New England Institute of Technology in Rhode Island.

“He was furthering his education at Clemson,” his father said, enrolling there for the fall 2011 semester with aspirations of providing cheap or free energy for everyone.

“He wanted to help the world,” his father said. “He wanted to make a difference. He did so much.

“We used to joke and call him ‘Sheldon Cooper.’ (one of the main characters on “The Big Bang Theory.”) That was his personality.”

More than anything, he loved his younger brother, Shawn Christopher Grich, his father said.

The two, just 20 months apart, were “best friends” who never got into an argument, Grich said.

“They were so close,” he said.

Roberta Grich remembers her grandson’s intelligence and unexpected fascination with her spaghetti sauce.

While she was making it one day, she said, he stood beside her and said, “I’m going to be the only one to know your secrets.”

“And he did watch me,” she said. “He was my love; he made me laugh; he was the apple of my eye.”

Each Christmas, Grich and her grandchildren would gather to buy ornaments for the tree. Steven would always pick something out of the ordinary, she said, just “to get a rise out of me.”

A father’s poem

Steve Grich, the father of slain Clemson University student Steven Gregory Grich of Fort Mill, penned this poem in the hours after learning of his son’s death. He asked The Herald to share it with our readers:

My dear son! I miss you so much

It keeps hurting, I can’t stop crying

My eyes always search for you in the sky

Heart longs for finding you in the heavens

My dear son! I love you so much

I feel so empty without you

I am so scared of my future without you

Heart longs for being around you for my safety

My dear son! You are my angel

I still feel that you are caring for me from above

I tell my broken heart that you are still watching me

Heart longs for your care even from heaven

My dear son! You are my protector

I remember you when I feel lonely

I talk to you when I break into pieces

Heart longs for your support even from heaven

My dear son! I was thinking I gave you life

The reality is that you had given me life

Without you and your presence, I can’t exist

Heart longs for your company in my heart until I exist

Please be there in my heart

I Love You Son!

The Charlotte Observer and The Associated Press contributed.

Jonathan McFadden 803-329-4082

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