The suspect was reportedly described as a bald, bearded black man between 20 and 35 years old and weighing around 250 pounds, wearing a black shirt.
Speaking to KPIX 5, the athlete's family said he had a "heart of gold", had no known enemies, and was never "mixed up in anything bad".
As a stunned community mourns, police are investigating the fatal shooting of a former National Football League player at his grandmother's home in Richmond on Wednesday. Investigators have determined the shooting occurred in the garage after a "disturbance" between Roberts and the suspect, with Roberts later stumbling into the backyard. Roberts subsequently went out to the back yard where officers found him.
Roberts was signed by the Bengals in May 2003 after going undrafted out of Oregon State.
He played two seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2003 and 2004. He was later released in 2005 after playing 29 total games and recording 26 tackles with one interception and a fumble recovery.
Loved ones and friends are paying tribute to Roberts.
"Man am exhausted of waking up everyday to bad news", retired defensive tackle Shaun Smith tweeted.
"I'm crushed to hear the news of the passing of my teammate and friend Terrell Roberts".