Volunteer attacked at Denver homeless shelter

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DENVER -- A Denver man known for helping thousands of homeless people was attacked by one of those he was trying to help.

Jim Scharper says the past few days have been rough, but he actually feels sorry for the man who attacked him.

“I woke up very sore this morning. I've got a couple teeth that are loose, a filling that's missing, one partial filling that's missing and lots of bruising," said Scharper.

He also has several fractures in his cheekbone.

Scharper said the attack happened as he and his group of volunteers from Feeding Denver’s Hungry were passing out food Thursday in Denver.

“We hand out a whole semi full of food. We had a little over 20,000 pounds of food we handed out yesterday, which is a lot. Everyone went home with groceries for the week," he said.

Scharper said a man who was originally helping them break down boxes suddenly came at him. According to the probable cause statement, Quinton Boyd tried to cut in line and became upset when Jim confronted him. Boyd allegedly hit him in the face.

“Next thing I know, he came up behind me with something in his hand. I think it was a pipe and hit me right upside the head and almost knocked me out," said Scharper.

Witnesses helped track down the suspected attacker and police arrested him Thursday night. Scharper’s friends took video and pictures as the guy ran away. Denver police arrested him several hours later.

“I hope he gets some help. I pray that he does, because there is a lot of untreated mental illness in our city because of a lack of funds," said Scharper.

He said he wanted the man arrested so he couldn't hurt anyone else, and he said it's sad this may have been the only way Boyd felt he could get help.

“When he was arrested last night, what sticks in my head was he said, 'Thank God I'm going to jail. I'll have a warm bed to sleep in,'" Scharper said.

Scharper has found forgiveness and compassion. He knows what it’s like, as he was on the streets himself 10 years ago.

“I'm an alcoholic and because of that, I lost everything 10 years ago on the street. I know what it's like to feel helpless and hopeless. For someone to want to find warmth and food, I understand it. I get it," Scharper said.

Scharper hopes the incident doesn't discourage others from volunteering. Feeding Denver's Hungry is always looking for others wanting to help, and he said they are trained to step back and avoid confrontations. They are also looking for donations.

Feeding Denver's Hungry has a GoFundMe. It also has a Facebook page.

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