Family of deadly West Springfield shooting victim speaks out

Family of deadly West Springfield shooting victim speaks out
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 4:21 PM EST
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The suspect in a deadly shooting at a West Springfield gas station was arraigned in court on Tuesday and now, the family of the victim is speaking out.

The shooting on Monday claimed the life of Akeem Anderson and now, his mother-in-law, Sabrina Ward, is speaking exclusively with Western Mass News following his death.

“He was 27. He was an amazing son, brother, friend. He was amazing to my daughter. It’s just heartbreaking,” Ward said.

Ward has since moved out of the Bay State, but shared the heartbreaking call she received from her daughter telling her the news.

“The next call I got was her screaming hysterically saying ‘Mom, they killed my boyfriend,’” Ward added.

Paul Roberts is accused of shooting and killing his uncle, Akeem, and was arraigned in Springfield District Court on Tuesday. He is facing assault and battery with a firearm and manslaughter charges.

An assistant district attorney explained in court on Tuesday:

“This shooting stems from a long-standing family dispute that’s been going on between this defendant and the victim.”

“It appears on this particular day, there was an argument between this defendant and the victim. The dependent called his father to the scene. His father appeared at the scene and there was a further altercation, a physical altercation, between this defendant and the victim, as well as the defendant’s father. At some point during that physical altercation, this defendant had a firearm on him. It was a legally possessed firearm. That fireman was discharged and shooting the victim in the chest.”

Roberts’s defense attorney argued that there is more to the story.

“Unfortunately, the deceased did, what I believe, terrorized Mr. Roberts and his father, so it culminated into an issue, a physical altercation, that happened at the Golden Nozzle,” the attorney explained.

However, Ward told us she believes that was not the case.

“Where the bad blood came in, it’s not understood. There’s really no explanation because, to me, there wasn’t any…The defendant had to say that he was terrorizing him. That’s not who he was. That’s not who he was at all. He was very outgoing, he was funny, he loved to smile, laugh,” Ward explained.

Roberts is scheduled to appear in court again on March 15.