A leading anti-gang activist in Denver faces attempted murder charges after police say he shot a young man multiple times last week.
Terrance Roberts, 37, was, in the words of Denver's alternative weekly, the Westword, "one of Denver's great comeback stories."
Roberts' back story has been fairly well publicized around Denver: Once a member of the Bloods, he was shot in the back in 1993, according to his biography, and spent "nearly a decade in and out of prison" on a weapons conviction. While behind bars, he reputedly straightened himself out.
"He determined that he could take his negative experiences and use them to not only change his own life, but to also give hope to the lives of children in the community who face some of the same challenges that he had to face growing up in a gang-infested community," according to the bio on his nonprofit's website, the Prodigal Son Initiative.
But on Friday night, police say, Roberts shot a young man thought to be a gang member about a block from the nonprofit's offices.
The Denver Post reported that the shooting happened at a community rally Roberts had helped organize.
According to a probable cause statement obtained by the Los Angeles Times, when officers arrived, they spotted Roberts with a 9-millimeter hangun - in violation of his status as a felon. Hasan Isaiah Jones, 22, was found bleeding on the ground from multiple gunshot wounds and was hospitalized in critical condition.
When a group of suspected gang members approached, one Denver police officer reported in the statement that he heard Roberts yell at them: "I had to shoot.... He pulled a knife on me ... you would have shot him too.... I shot him for running up on me."
Two unidentified witnesses told police they saw Roberts shoot Jones after Jones had gone down "motionless" on the ground, according to the affidavit.
Roberts was charged with attempted murder, first-degree assault and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was released from jail after posting $100,000 bond.
He didn't respond to a request for comment via email. No one answered his cellphone or his nonprofit's office number, and both voice mail boxes were full.
"He’s sorry - he's sorry that things happened the way they did," Leon Kelly, another anti-violence activist in Denver, told ABC-7 in Denver, which reported that Roberts was with a group of children he was mentoring.
When a local reporter asked what Roberts should have done, Kelly responded, "The politically correct answer is to leave and get the SWAT team, or to leave it in God's hands."
Kelly added: "If your family was threatened, if the kids that you were entrusted to protect were threatened, I throw that question back to you: What would you do?"