Posted: Thu 4:33 PM, Jul 30, 2015 By: Megan Hickey, Brandon Kusz wndu
Friends and neighbors positively identified Trent from St. Joseph Co. booking photos from a prior arrest.
Trent is the founder of Project TRUCE, an anti-violence group designed to “assist at-risk youth through violence prevention and gang intervention programs,” according to the groups Facebook page.
The group held a meeting at the South Bend YMCA as recently as July 3.
Trent’s work mentoring South Bend youth can be traced back more than a decade.
According to the Indiana Dept. of Corrections, Trent spent three years in prison for a burglary charge in 1993.
Upon his release, Trent said he turned to God, reformed himself and set out to “reclaim a generation of lost and troubled youths.”
NewsCenter16 interviewed Trent in April of 2000 about his mentorship role in the community.
“I’m always hopeful that something I can say can deter someone else from taking the route I had to take,” Trent told WNDU’s Dawn Meyer.
But according to investigators, on Tuesday morning Trent forced entry into a home in the 400 block of Corby Blvd. The 73-year-old homeowner returned home to an apparent burglary in progress.
Police say Trent attacked the homeowner, pushing him down a flight of stairs.
That’s when the homeowner fired a fatal shot to Trent’s upper torso.
Neighbors at Trent’s South Bend apartment were shocked to learn that the youth mentor and deceased burglary suspect were one in the same.
“He looked to be like a real nice mentor for the kids,” said Trent’s neighbor, James Kelley. “My head is still spinning.”
The homeowner sustained some injuries in the encounter but investigators said they were not serious.
On Thursday, police revealed that Trent may be connected to at least one other burglary in the neighborhood. Valuables that were reported stolen were later discovered in his car.
Police say there’s no evidence that anyone but Trent was involved in Tuesday’s home invasion.
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