Four young men accused of attempting a home invasion robbery in Denton just before Christmas were former football players from Arlington, authorities said.
Two died in the botched robbery.
One was a Euless Trinity football star who went on to play at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
One graduated in May from Arlington Seguin High School. He and the two surviving robbery suspects played football together at Seguin in 2010.
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It was the death of Terrence Neal Tusan, 22, the former Trinity player, that captured nationwide media attention.
As a former running back for the Trojans, Tusan was named most valuable player in 2009. He was in his junior year of college at Howard University — the same place his parents met — when he was shot to death.
Instead of being stars, Tusan and his three companions are now labeled suspects in the attempted robbery of two men on Dec. 21 at the CastleRock apartment complex, 1541 Meadow St., police said.
The families of Tusan and the other man killed, Jakobi Dmon Gipson, 18, have insisted that their sons would not have been involved in an armed robbery.
Police say the evidence shows otherwise.
One of the men, Ra’shar Joseph Aikens, 19, remained in Denton County Jail on Monday, where he has been since police picked him up almost a month ago on an aggravated robbery warrant.
The fourth suspect, Lloyd Benjamin Fraction IV, posted $25,000 bail and was released from the Denton City Jail on Jan. 8, a day after he surrendered responding to a warrant for his arrest.
Help ‘hitting a lick’
Fraction was enrolled at the University of North Texas from fall 2012 through the fall semester 2014.
At a party in Dallas a week before the robbery, he told another partygoer that he needed help “hitting a lick,” which is slang for committing a robbery or acquiring a lot of money at once, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed by Denton police Detective Keith Martin.
Fraction told the person that he knew of a Denton apartment to rob, the affidavit states.
Later, when questioned by Martin, Fraction said he was not in Denton during the robbery but at a friend’s house in Dallas, according to the affidavit. But in a subsequent interview, Fraction told police that he drove his friends to buy marijuana at the apartment that was robbed but stayed in the car.
Denton police Sgt. Brad Curtis, who is overseeing the case, said that police aren’t sure how the four robbery suspects and two victims knew one another but that Fraction lived at CastleRock.
“He stayed at that complex last semester,” Curtis said. “He wasn’t on the lease, but he was staying there.”
Fraction, who played football for three months at UNT, admitted purchasing cable ties before driving Tusan, Gipson and Aikens to buy marijuana at the apartment, according to the affidavit.
Keenen Reeves, who lived in the apartment, told police that he answered his door after 5 p.m. Dec. 21 to find Gipson, who forced his way inside along with Aikens and Tusan.
Reeves told police that he had a pistol in his pocket that fell out while he struggled with Gipson on the floor.
Reeves said one of the three men said, “Give us everything you got.”
Reeves said one of the three then said, “Just shoot that [expletive],” before he got control of his gun and shot Gipson, who was on top of him, according to the affidavit.
Gipson was shot multiple times, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office. He had long white cable ties and duct tape in his possession, according to the affidavit.
During the struggle, another resident of the apartment, Gregory Williams, awoke in his bedroom and ran into the living room, according to the affidavit.
Williams told police that Tusan ran out the door turning left and Aikens ran to the right.
Tusan’s body was later found in the apartment breezeway, where five shell casings were recovered, police said.
On his body were several small bathroom-size trash bags, according to the affidavit. He died of gunshots to the head and neck, according to the medical examiner’s office.
Denton police recovered a handgun belonging to Reeves and a Springfield Armory XD 9mm pistol that Reeves told police Tusan had, according to the affidavit.
Reeves was shot in the hand and Williams in the arm. They were treated and released from a local hospital and moved out of their apartment the next day.
Neither attended UNT, said school spokeswoman Kelly Reese.
Police recovered a handgun magazine, a box of ammunition, nine shell casings from inside the apartment, five shell casings from outside, bullets, a pair of gloves, a 24-inch-long cable tie, $820, a Ziploc bag of 3.9 grams of a green leafy substance known to be marijuana and a bag of 10.2 grams of white elliptical prescription pills.
That is “not that much” drugs, Curtis said.
Fraction graduated from Seguin High in 2010 where he was a defensive back, Arlington schools spokeswoman Leslie Johnston confirmed. He played his junior and senior years. His last year was Gipson and Aikens’ first.
The Star-Telegram’s sports department named Fraction a Top 50 area football recruit in 2010.
Tusan graduated from Trinity in 2010 before he went on to play for Howard.
Gipson played only during his freshman year at Seguin in 2010, and graduated in May, Johnston said.
Aikens played for two years at Seguin and left school in 2013.
Aikens remained in the Denton County Jail on an aggravated robbery charge with bail set at $100,000, which is $75,000 more than Fraction’s bail. He is wanted in Tarrant County for violating his probation terms in a burglary of a motor vehicle case out of Arlington in 2012.
Because of the Tarrant County warrant, he will likely remain in jail until his trial date, Curtis said.
Curtis said Reeves, the armed tenant who opened the door the night of the robbery, was within his right to have a gun because he’s not a felon.
He said police are working with Denton County prosecutors to discuss what, if any, charges the apartment dwellers will face. Curtis said the men have acquired attorneys, which has slowed down the investigation.
Curtis said that he couldn’t speak for the tenants as to why they moved out the day after the shooting, but that they probably didn’t want to stay there after what happened.
“Why is he in my city?”
Tusan’s death shocked family and friends.
Tusan is the second young man in his family to be buried by his parents.
Tusan’s older brother, Joseph, was killed in a hit-and-run road-rage incident 10 years ago during his freshman year at Central University in Oklahoma.
Joseph was in the back of a pickup truck that was rammed by the driver of another vehicle. He died at the scene. That driver was sentenced to 320 years in prison plus life.
Terrence Tusan was visiting his mother in Arlington on Christmas break from Howard University where he was a Howard Bison running back. He was planning on majoring in leisure studies, according to the university.
As a former running back for the Trintiy Trojans, Tusan rushed for more than 2,700 yards and 40 touchdowns in the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
“Why is this young man, who had all this going for him, why is he in my city involved in this?” Curtis said in response to a question. “I don’t know.
“I can tell you this — he was a grown man and he made some decisions. He chose to be there. Nobody forced him to be there. Why would he go and do this? He’s the only one that can answer that.”
Curtis said the four men must have engaged in some sort of planning before the robbery.
“It’s not a coincidence that they ended up at that apartment,” he said. “You don’t just end up there by accident.”
Monica S. Nagy, 817-390-7792