ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The family of Jeff Roberts changed forever Monday morning when he was shot and killed inside Fiamma Inc. by John Robert Neumann, deputies said. Neumann shot and killed four others before killing himself. Eight people escaped, deputies said.
But instead of focusing on the last moments of his death, his family told Channel 9 anchor Nancy Alvarez they want the community to focus on his full life.
Roberts spent the last weekend of his life with his family and celebrated Alex, the grandson he adored who just turned 11.
“I am very glad that we were able to have this weekend,” said Roberts' daughter-in-law, Vanessa.
His daughter-in-law, son and wife told Eyewitness News about the moment they had to tell Alex that his grandfather was gone.
“There's no parenting manual that tells you how to do that. Because you shouldn't have to. You shouldn't have to,” Cory Roberts said.
Tammy Roberts said she could never have imagined when she said goodbye to her husband Monday morning that it would be their last time talking.
“He just went to work and walked out the door and said, ‘I'll see you tonight,’ and that's the last thing he said to me,” Tammy Roberts said. “He's been my best friend and husband for 37 years and i will miss him terribly. He's my life.
The family is leaning on kindness from the community for strength.
When managers at Dave & Busters, an arcade game facility, heard about Alex and his loss, they held a birthday party to put a smile on his face and help mend his broken heart just a little bit.
It was a short escape for a family to remember not how Roberts died, but how he lived.
“He was such a good coach on the field, and a good coach in life,” said Cory Roberts. “And that's what I'm going to miss the most, is being able to call my dad and ask him for advice, being a parent or how to fix a washing machine. That’s going to be what I miss the most, is being able to call him to be my coach.
Cox Media Group