Victim in Bay Park shooting identified as Robert Colegrove

Jeret Needham arrested, accused in shooting

SAN DIEGO - A part-time Madison High School wrestling coach was in custody Wednesday for allegedly gunning down a Bay Park man at the victim's home.

Jeret Thomas Needham, 42, was booked into San Diego Central Jail early Wednesday morning on suspicion of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting in the 2200 block of Denver Street.

The victim, identified by police as 45-year-old Robert Howard Colegrove, was in his back yard when Needham allegedly shot him at least once in the upper body about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, then fled in a silver minivan down an adjacent alley, according to police.

Colegrove died at the scene, police said.

Friends of the victim's told investigators they believed they knew the shooter's identity, leading officers to Needham's home in the 4600 block of Firestone Street in Clairemont. Officers surrounded the house and tried to get the suspect to exit and surrender, initially getting no response, homicide Lt. Mike Hastings said.

About 6 p.m., Needham walked outside and was taken into custody at gunpoint.

The suspect and victim apparently had been in a dispute several hours prior to the shooting, according to police.

A friend of Colegrove's told 10News that the victim and his girlfriend lived in the house on Denver Street where the shooting happened.

Colegrove's girlfriend, Tera Jones, told friends that Needham "disrespected" her, and that led to fisticuffs.

"Jeret came to the house and was intoxicated and was creating problems and was trying to be a nuisance and Bob kind of got on him about it," explained Colegrove's lifelong friend, Don Garriott, who spoke to Jones after the incident.

Garriott said Needham wasn't happy that Colegrove came out ahead in the scuffle and left.

"They thought the situation was over. Tera had gone into the house and Bob went back to working on the fence that he was working on and looked up and there was Jeret with the gun," according to Garriott.

Garriott said Jones heard the gunfire, and when she went outside, she saw Needham driving away and Colegrove covered in blood.

"She saw the man that she loved die in her arms," said Garriott, who has been in touch with Colegrove's distraught family since learning of his death.

Several neighbors told 10News they believe the shooting was drug-related because of the large number of "shady" characters often seen coming and going from the house at all hours.

Police would not confirm reports that they often visited the house, but 10News obtained court documents that showed the home was searched by officers on at least one occasion, and drugs were found.

Colegrove, Jones and two other men who shared the house were all arrested on a variety of charges in September 2012, according to the documents.

Garriott told 10News that Colegrove "was no angel," but said he believes the argument that led to his death was purely caused by a man whose pride had been hurt and who was high on drugs, alcohol or both.

Colegrove recently told Garriott that he was getting in shape and preparing to help Needham with the wrestling team. Colegrove had once been a high school wrestler who placed 2nd in the CIF's southern section.

"He was just kind of helping out and trying to get back into wrestling and coaching," Garriott said.

Needham has worked as a "walk-on" coach for the Clairemont Mesa school for the past three years, said Jack Brandais, spokesman for San Diego Unified School District. Prior to his arrest, Needham had been slated to resume the job at the Doliva Drive campus at the start of wrestling season, which runs from November through February.

The suspect was being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Friday afternoon.

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