NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – One of the suspects accused of killing an innocent teenager in downtown Wilmington is telling his side of the story.
Daniel Henry, 17, found it hard to hold back his tears when talking about the events leading up to Joshua Proutey's murder.
Proutey, 19, was found dead in the downtown district last week. He died from a single gunshot wound to the head, according to the Wilmington Police Department.
Henry said it's been hard to forget Joshua's face since he's been arrested for the murder.
"My intentions was not for nobody to lose their life," Henry said in an interview with WECT. "It was really not my intention. Every second that dude's face is in my head ‘cause that was not my intentions."
Tears rolled down Henry's face when he tried to talk and think about the pain the Proutey family must be going through after losing their son.
"I just want to apologize to his relatives and let them know it wasn't my intentions," he said.
Henry began to recap Thursday's events without any hesitation.
"We were trying to make a quick buck," he said when asked why he was trying to rob a home earlier in the day in the Forest Hills neighborhood.
Henry was with his girlfriend Jasmine Dottin and friend Chris Cromartie when they were planning on breaking into the home. He said it wasn't long before they decided to head downtown.
Henry said that's when they met up with Quintel Grady. Henry said Dottin drove the four around downtown Wilmington as they began to look for people to rob. Henry said they started to follow a woman in the area, but she ended up walking into her home so they went on to the next person.
That next person happened to be Proutey. According to police, Proutey was leaving his night shift at the Community Arts Center when the group approached him in the parking lot and robbed him.
Henry said Grady had bought a 357 revolver earlier Thursday and used that gun to approach Proutey.
"He put the gun to his head and said this is a robbery and give me what you got and the dude Josh was like man I don't have anything," Henry said.
Police said Proutey handed over $10 in cash and his cell phone. Henry said Proutey had a sandwich and dropped it on the ground when the group approached him. Henry said he picked up the sandwich and moved to the rear of the car.
According to Henry, Proutey remained calm the entire time and was willing to hand over everything he had. Henry said Grady then ordered Proutey to get into his car. Police said Proutey froze at that point and that's when Grady allegedly shot Proutey.
"I feel as though I'm not a cold blooded killer," he said. "Did I pull the trigger?" he asked. "No."
Henry said he waited a minute before taking the sandwich and running away.
"I just want to tell Josh's parents I'm sorry," he said. "Mrs. Proutey you have all the reason to despise me and hate me."
Henry said Dottin had been feeling sick the whole night and had nothing to do with the murder. He also said that Cromartie did not seem resentful about the shooting.
Henry said when he got home that night he eventually broke down to his mother, who lives in Leland, and told her what had happened. He said he had planned on turning himself in but that investigators came to pick him up before he could.
"If you do the crime you do the time," he said.
WECT.com found out the Cromartie is a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission.
Sources said he was heavily involved in the group. According to the website, the commission is made up of local leaders and community members who try to cut down youth violence.
Cromartie apparently worked with children in the northern part of the city. Sources told WECT.com that he was very active in the community until about six months ago. According to the Blue Ribbon Commission, Cromartie was a part of the Portia M. Hines Park Project.
Calls made to Blue Ribbon leaders and District Attorney Ben David were not returned for comment on Cromartie's involvement with the commission.
Cromartie and Henry were also well known in the community as boxers. Andre Thompson is a coach and fitness instructor in Wilmington and trained Henry. He also knew Cromartie from his record in the ring.
Thompson told WECT.com he was surprised to hear of the news. He said both men were great boxers with a lot of potential.
Thompson said unfortunately some of his boxers stray away from the gym and end up in trouble or behind bars. He said activities like boxing help to keep a lot of the children off the streets.
With the news of Cromartie and Henry, Thompson said he would like to make contact with the district attorney and police chief to see if there is a program that can be put in place to help give these kids more of an opportunity to get involved with activities like boxing.
Thompson said he's known Henry for a while and feels like he was in the wrong place at the wrong time of the shooting. Thompson said Henry had been back and forth between New Jersey and North Carolina and thought he was a sweet kid.
Thompson just opened a new gym on the corner of 13th and Castle streets and said he would be more than willing to open his doors to the kids looking to get involved in a hobby.
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