OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — A teen accused of robbing a group of casual carpoolers in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood Monday morning was a talented football player with a college scholarship.
According to police, 17-year-old Dajon Ford and 22-year-old Delante Johnson held up several carpoolers at gunpoint around 9:00 a.m. on Hudson Street, underneath Highway 24. Police said they took the commuters’ personal items and electronic devices.
Ford led the team at McClymonds High School to three straight league championships, including one undefeated season. The offensive lineman accepted a football scholarship to attend New Mexico Highlands University.
Coaches said he had quick hands and great footwork for his size, 6’3″ and 275 pounds.
“With his frame and his build, it was almost like milk and cookies. It made sense to go together,” said Nakysha Ford, Dajon’s mother.
At the age of 17, it seemed he had a promising future.
“I was ecstatic. Every day, that was what I talked about at work: My son is going to college,” Nakysha Ford said.
Things changed after he arrived at the university in July. He didn’t like the school and his girlfriend is due with their child in November.
A coach at New Mexico Highlands University told KPIX 5 that Dajon left the team in mid-August without explaining why. He packed up his stuff one day and flew back to Oakland.
“It was against my wishes, it was against everybody’s wishes,” Nakysha Ford said.
Without a job and a baby on the way, his mom suspected fast money was the motivation behind Monday’s robbery. “I apologize to the victims if this is what my son did. I give my most sincere apology,” she said.
Dajon lost his father to gun violence when he was a kid. His mother said she provided a stable family structure to him and his younger brothers by working at a health clinic. Both grandparents also gave him a strong support system.
“I want him to have a second chance. I don’t want his life to be taken away like this,” said Janice Stevenson, Dajon’s grandmother.
The family is having a hard time understanding what went wrong for a once promising football standout. His mother hopes he will rebound from this and others can learn from it.
“No way that I’m going to turn my back on him. He’s loved and he’s supported,” Nakysha Ford said.
Dajon Ford, who turns 18 next month, will be charged as an adult in this case. He is facing 10 counts of armed robbery and two counts of attempted armed robbery.
(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)