By Ronnie Dahl
Fox 2 News
DETROIT (WJBK) -- Donald Taylor was recently arraigned on several charges, including felony murder.
Taylor is accused of gunning down 18-year-old Demetrius Green on January 4. The teen and his friend were on their way to the store. As they approached East Warren and Somerset on the city's east side, police say Taylor jumped out of a van, pulled a gun on the young guys and tried to rob them.
Fox 2 talked to Green's mother the morning after her son was murdered.
"He robbed him for a leather coat. He took his coat off, threw it down to give it to him. The guy came out with an AK and started shooting at him," said Barbara Carreker.
Tips led Detroit police to Taylor, and as part of the investigation, they recovered a gun believed to have been used in as many as a dozen murders.
Sources confirmed for Fox 2 they believe that gun is connected to a so-called "hit squad", guys willing to kill for as little as $100.
"That is absolutely crazy," said Reverend Darryl Gaddy with Victory Fellowship Community Church.
The place of worship sits in the heart of some of Detroit's most violent neighborhoods. Gaddy grew up on the east side and said he understands where the kids are coming from.
"It's a matter of survival for them. Many of them are living alone and many of them have been turned out to the streets. They don't have places to go. They don't have food to eat. So they're trying to survive."
Gaddy has made it his mission to try and reach kids before they get recruited into a life of crime. Through the church, he leads a mentoring program. It's an effort to expose kids to the right way of life, letting them know they can choose another path and not face life in prison like Donald Taylor.
"We're so afraid of them that we fail to remember that they want to survive, they want to live, they want to flourish, and it's our responsibility to reach out to them and to partner with them and to make life more hopeful and faithful for them."
Taylor is scheduled to go back before a judge for a preliminary examination on January 17.