Foundation honors shooting victim

Posted 12/12/09

The family of Andrew Graham, the 23-year-old Centennial man found shot to death in the Willow Creek neighborhood last month, has started a foundation …

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Foundation honors shooting victim


The family of Andrew Graham, the 23-year-old Centennial man found shot to death in the Willow Creek neighborhood last month, has started a foundation in his honor.

The Andrew Gelston Graham Charitable Foundation will raise money for a variety of causes that were important to Graham, according to his mother, Cyndi Gelston.

“I can’t think of my son as a murder victim because if I do, it just tears me apart,” she said. “I wanted to do something positive in his name. I have a three-inch binder full of letters from people talking about the impact he has had on them.”

Although a precise mission statement has yet to be written, Gelston expects the foundation to focus on such issues as homelessness, gun violence and helping youths pursue music and sports.

Gelston hopes the foundation will continue to support the passions and ideals that were close to her son’s heart. She says Graham was always thinking of others and made a point of doing the right thing.

“On his way home that night, he stopped at Union Station to talk to the homeless men and give them something to eat — so he was late getting home,” she said. “I don’t know that it would have changed the outcome, but that was the kind of thing that he did. He was nonjudgmental. He treated everyone with respect.”

Graham was found at about 5:30 a.m. on Nov. 6 lying face down on a front lawn in the 8700 block of East Phillips Place. He had gotten off the light rail train at the Dry Creek station and was walking to his parents’ home when he ran into trouble.

The foundation named in Graham’s honor was established pro bono by local attorneys. The Denver office of the investment firm Morgan Stanley Smith Barney is the foundation’s custodian.

The foundation’s work may run the gamut, from supporting Graham’s passion for team Frisbee to helping Denver’s homeless population, according to Gelston.

“Right now, I don’t have a clear mission statement because I’m just learning about what that means,” she said.

A Web site for the foundation is being established.

Graham’s murder has been puzzling for investigators. His money was still in his wallet when his body was found. His other belongings, including credit and debit cards and a cell phone, were discovered in his satchel about two blocks north of where his body was found.

The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office has suggested that it was likely a random crime. Efforts to locate the videotaped light rail passengers who may have seen Graham on the train or at the station on the night of the murder have reportedly been unsuccessful. No one in the video is considered a suspect.

Graham was last seen alive at 11:40 p.m. on Nov. 5, less than six hours before his body was discovered. He had been taped deboarding by a security camera at the light rail station.

The recent University of Colorado graduate would often walk about four miles from the light rail station to his parents’ Centennial house.

According to Robinson, Graham met foul play somewhere along his regular route and eventually collapsed in a residential yard about six blocks from his family’s home.

Although nothing was taken from the victim’s person or carrying case, the sheriff has not discounted robbery as a possible motive.

Graham, a Cherry Creek High School graduate, had been scheduled to begin post-graduate work in math and engineering at C.U. in the spring. On the day of his murder, he had been looking for an apartment in Boulder.

A graduate-level scholarship for civil engineering students has been renamed in Graham’s honor.

Donations to the foundation can be sent to Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Custodian FBO Andrew Gelston Graham Charitable Foundation, 370 17th St., Suite 2800, Denver, CO 80202.

Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 303-795-4711


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