Angelo Henderson legacy: Pulitzer Prize winner and community activist

Angelo Henderson was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a longtime radio talk show host, a minister, and the co-founder of a prominent community patrol group.

Todd McInturf/Detroit News/AP
Radio host Angelo Henderson laughs with guests on his show 'Your Voice.'

Angelo Henderson, Pulitzer Prize-winning Detroit journalist, radio talk show host and co-founder of a prominent community patrol group, died Saturday, a medical examiner's spokesman said. He was 51.

Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office spokesman Bill Mullan said Henderson died Saturday in Pontiac of natural causes, but no other details were available.

Henderson was most recently a host on radio station WCHB. He previously worked for The Detroit News and The Wall Street Journal, where he won the Pulitzer in 1999 in the feature writing category for a portrait of a druggist driven to violence by encounters with armed robbers.

A story about the award published at that time by The Associated Press said Henderson sought to understand what happened when pharmacist Dennis Grehl shot and killed an armed robber who tried to hold up his shop.Henderson interviewed Grehl and his drugstore colleagues and spent a year researching the life of the man he killed.

"It happened so quickly, he was just trying to protect himself and his co-worker," Henderson said. "It was nothing about malice or hatred, but afterward realizing what you've done is tough. ... I tried to tell the story of how these two lives collided, and how their lives both changed."

He carried his passion and commitment for the city and its residents through all of his endeavors, including the daily radio show, "Your Voice with Angelo Henderson," said program producer Kamal Smith.

"The title of the show really captured what Angelo was all about: 'Your Voice,'" Smith said. "He tried to give the city a voice to speak on ... and take back what's theirs."

Detroit 300, the crime-fighting organization he helped lead, consisted of residents, civic groups, and businesses. They patrolled neighborhoods and prompted the public to help police with investigations but dissolved in 2012 after a group leader and member were killed. A smaller, spin-off group continues.

Without Henderson, "radio won't be the same in the city of Detroit; journalism won't be the same in city of Detroit; community activism won't be the same in Detroit," said Detroit 300 co-founder Raphael Johnson.

Henderson also was an ordained minister and served as the director of community affairs at Triumph Church, which has multiple Detroit-area locations.

He's survived by his wife, Felecia, assistant managing editor of features and presentation at the Detroit News, and their son, Grant, 19.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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