AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) — Family and friends are grieving after a young man was shot and killed in an Aurora apartment complex parking lot. Jayden Phillips, 18, was in the midst of turning his life around after getting into some trouble with the law.

His mentor, Jason McBride, sat down with CBS4’s Mekialaya White to talk about his promising future.

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Jayden Phillips (left) and Jason McBride (right) (credit: Jason McBride)

“We were putting together a 30, 60, 90-day plan,” said McBride. He had been close with Phillips for years.

“I went out to see him when he was locked up and would go see him weekly. We would have conversations and he would call me on the phone almost daily.”

McBride is a violence prevention specialist at the Struggle of Love Foundation. The nonprofit has worked with disadvantaged teens for 16 years, promoting community involvement through social activities.

(credit: CBS)

“Trying to show kids and give them different opportunities to keep them safe,” said McBride.

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That’s why McBride was devastated when he learned that Phillips was shot to death on Monday afternoon.

“He was a good kid, somebody who wanted to be different, wanted to make his mom proud, and he didn’t deserve to die the way he did,” he said with tears in his eyes. “I just… wanted him to make it. I wanted him to have a chance. All too often, kids who are ready to do something different with their lives don’t get that opportunity, and Jayden was one of them.”

McBride also says he’s see teen violence escalate even more during the pandemic.

“You have some kids that utilized school as a place to get away from the things they’re going through, being at home or wherever, without being able to get away for the last 18 months they’ve had to deal with it. a lot of these kids mental has snapped and we’re going to start seeing that play out across the city.”

(credit: CBS)

He believes the key is addressing mental health head-on.

“We all know what the problems are. We have to start talking about the solutions because they don’t have the ability to do that for themselves,” said McBride.

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Learn more about Struggle of Love and its variety of services available.

Mekialaya White