DENVER (CBS4)– The man who founded an organization to keep at-risk youth out of gangs has been arrested in connection with a shooting.
Terrance Roberts was arrested Friday night after a shooting in the 3300 block of Holly Street near a new Boys and Girls Club. That club has not yet opened so no children were inside at the time.
When officers arrived at the scene a little after 6 p.m. Friday they found one male victim who appeared to be suffering from gunshot wounds. He was rushed to an area hospital and was in critical condition on Saturday morning.
Roberts, 37, is being held in the Denver jail for investigation of first-degree assault and attempted murder.
Roberts is the founder of the Prodigal Son Initiative. It’s a local nonprofit that provides at-risk children in Denver neighborhoods with an alternative to a life of crime. Before founding the organization Roberts told CBS4 that he was mixed up with the wrong crowd, was shot in the back and even spent time in jail.
The Prodigal Son Initiative’s offices are located near the old Holly Square Shopping Center that burned down nearly 5 years ago due to a gang fight. Those offices are also near where the shooting happened on Friday night.
CBS4’s Howard Nathan spoke with Roberts in jail. Roberts told Nathan he considered the man he shot, who he identified as 20-year-old Hassan Jones, a friend. He said he took Jones to a Denver Nuggets game last season but Friday night Roberts says Jones and crowd of gang members threatened him to the point where he believed he might lose his life on the basketball courts he built.
“It was a shock to me what happened and it hurts both sides of the family,” Roberts’ friend Rodney Long said. “It hurts the side of the guy that got shot and it hurts him as well.”
Roberts said 20 gang members commandeered the courts while he was setting up a neighborhood peace rally. He said they’ve been wrongly accusing him of working with Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey against them and being a snitch for the police. Feeling threatened, Roberts said he had to defend himself when he was surrounded.
“I’m ashamed, I feel remorseful, I was planning a unity rally, I wasn’t planning a shooting,” Roberts told Nathan.
Roberts left the gang life years ago, but as Jones explained, it’s not easy to fully escape.
“I think it’s pressure with the people still involved and he’s out of it and trying to stay out of it,” Long said.
The Roberts family was trying to raise bond money to release him from jail. The judge issued a protective order for Jones.
Statement From John Arigoni, President & CEO Of Boys & Girls Clubs Of Metro Denver
In regards to the tragic incident that occurred on Friday, September 20, 2013, near the newly opened Nancy P. Anschutz Center, home to the Jack A. Vickers Boys & Girls Club, I would like to express heartfelt condolences on behalf of Boys & Girls Clubs to the families who were affected, and to the surrounding community. We are deeply saddened by this tragedy, and remain committed to the important work that has been established by the Holly Area Redevelopment Program. We will continue to move forward in partnership with the many organizations in the Northeast Park Hill community to help redevelop the area. Boys & Girls Clubs will remain a safe haven for local kids and teens.
On behalf of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, I can assure the community at large that as an organization we will remain dedicated to serving those who need our services most – and we will continue to do so despite sad and challenging circumstances. Boys & Girls Clubs has supported many communities overcoming significant challenges, and we remain committed to continuing programming in Northeast Park Hill.
The Jack A. Vickers Boys & Girls Club will reopen on Tuesday, September 24, with normal Club hours.
The Grand Opening Celebration scheduled for Tuesday, October 1st will proceed as planned.