Former mentor speaks on Tusan

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A family friend is asking everyone to understand who Terrence Neal Tusan really was this Christmas before making a judgment.

Tusan, 22, a former star football player from Trinity High School in Euless, was one of three people police identified as suspects in a home invasion robbery Sunday at the CastleRock at Denton apartment complex on Meadow Street.

“Right now, you Google or look up Terrance Tusan and all you see is robbery,” Clarence Nevels, a former coach and mentor to Tusan, said Wednesday, speaking on behalf of the family. “You have to wonder, what would be the purpose to throw his life away?”

Tusan and Jakobi Dmon Gipson, 18, both of Arlington, were fatally shot Sunday evening at the apartment complex, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office. The medical examiner listed the deaths as homicides caused by gunshot wounds.

Nevels, who knew Tusan for 15 years, said Tusan didn’t have a criminal history and wasn’t known to be associated with drugs. He said Tusan knew Gipson, but he wasn’t in his circle of friends.

“He was a good kid,” Nevels said of Tusan. “He had good grades and was just down at AT&T Stadium for Thanksgiving Day Madness Youth Football speaking to students about believing in themselves.”

According to a statement from Howard University in Washington, D.C., Tusan was majoring in leisure studies and was a running back on the university’s football team for three seasons.

“He was home for Christmas and had planned to go shopping with his mom on Monday,” Nevels said. “He didn’t get to do that.”

This is the second time the family has had to deal with a loss. Nevels said Tusan’s brother, Joseph D. Tusan, was killed 10 years ago in a hit-and-run accident while attending East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma.

“Terrance was the only child [his mother, Donna Tusan] had left, and now he is gone, too,” Nevels said. “We just want to ask anyone looking into this incident to investigate further.”

Nevels said Terrence Tusan’s father, Kevin Tusan, lives in Maryland near where his son was attending school.

Denton police said officers received a 911 call reporting gunshots at 5:38 p.m. Sunday. Officers arrived minutes later to find two victims with with non-life-threatening injuries and two of the suspects — Tusan and Gipson — dead.

A third suspect, who might have been injured, remains at large. Police say they do not believe the third suspect is still in Denton.

Officer Orlando Hinojosa said the suspects tried to conceal their faces during the incident but did not know how.

Gipson was shot and killed inside the apartment, while Tusan was shot and killed outside. The third suspect fled the scene, police said. Police have not said who shot whom.

The victims were taken to Denton Regional Medical Center, where they were treated and released Sunday night. Hinojosa said the victims have since moved out of their apartment.

What charges, if any, stemming from Sunday’s shooting have yet to be determined, police said.

MEGAN GRAY-HATFIELD can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.

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