DENVER - The anti-gang activist accused of shooting a reputed gang member in the parking lot of the Boys and Girls Club in Park Hill Friday told witnesses that he was defending himself, according to a probably cause statement obtained by 7NEWS.
In that statement, one witness told police that Terrance Roberts, 37, shot the other man three or four times, including at least once while the man was lying motionless on the ground.
Roberts had a semi-automatic handgun and told suspected gang members gathered in the parking lot for a community rally, "I had to shoot that (N word). He pulled a knife on me … all you would have shot him, too," according to the affidavit.
Roberts said the victim, identified as 22-year-old Hasan "Munch" Jones, was "running up on me," the court document stated.
Roberts posted $100,000 bond, and was released from jail, according to court documents. He faces possible charges of attempted first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a weapon by a previous offender. Roberts, who at one time was in a gang himself, served time for several felony convictions and cannot, legally, possess a gun.
"I went from being an honor roll student to joining a gang, thinking that was the way to defend this community," he told 7NEWS in February 2012, while talking about the future of Holly Center, which had been torched by gang members in 2008 as retribution for the killing of a gang leader.
But Roberts turned his life around and founded the Prodigal Son Initiative, housed adjacent to the renovated shopping center and reached out to at-risk teens and youth likely to be involved in gangs.
Roberts had tried to help Jones several times, but they have had a tense relationship lately, said Rev. Leon Kelly, who mentored Roberts and considered him a successor.
"I talked to Terry," Kelly said. "He's very remorseful. He's sorry things happened the way they did."
Kelly told 7NEWS that a lot of the progress made in the Holly area and a lot of the success in getting some kids out of gangs was because of Terrance Roberts.
When asked what Roberts should have done, Kelly replied, "The politically correct answer is to leave and get the SWAT team, or to leave it in God's hands." Kelly continued his response with a question. "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?"
Kelly said it's easy to judge someone who is accused of shooting someone else, but added there is much about the circumstances that we don't know.
He said many people who have links or former links to the gang lifestyle pay heed to the lyrics of a song that say: "I would rather be tried by 12 than be carried by 6."
Kelly said he and some of his older people he's mentored helped diffuse the potential for more gang violence following the shooting Friday. He said there will be a community meeting on the courts just west of the Boys and Girls Club at 33rd Avenue and Holly Street at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday to talk about the incident, and how the community needs to be involved to diffuse the potential for more violence.
Attempts to reach Roberts at home and by phone were unsuccessful on Monday.
He is due back in court Oct. 7.