It has been nearly two weeks since Roberts, a father of three, was killed, and his family is looking for answers. No one has been arrested in the shooting.
Relatives of Roberts have heard various stories about what happened outside Johnny Baby’s bar about 2 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 22, but not about any dispute involving him. They don’t know why he was killed.
“I want justice,” said Dana Roberts, Brandon’s mother. “I want to know who killed my son, and I want them to go to jail.”
Roberts traveled to Minnesota from her New Orleans home last week and faced the task of planning a funeral, held Monday for her youngest son. She previously lived in the Twin Cities, having moved here when Brandon was 7.
Brandon Roberts played football at St. Paul’s Arlington High School before they moved to Brooklyn Park and he transferred to Park Center Senior High.
Roberts was handsome and loved looking good — even as a 7-year-old, he wanted silk shirts when he was shopping for school clothes, recalled his aunt, Robin Roberts. And his attention to detail carried over to taking care of his children, who are 2, 9 and 13.
Roberts lived wh his cousin in New Brighton, near his children and their mother, so he could get his kids to school in the morning, his family said.
Roberts usually worked a couple of jobs at a time, and he dreamed of one day going to culinary school and starting a restaurant. He made his own “secret sauces” and was known for his potato salad, Jeanine Roberts said.
HIS LAST DAY
On Saturday, Oct. 21, Roberts worked at Finish Line at Southdale Center and then as a server at Dave & Buster’s, also at the Edina mall. He was still wearing his restaurant uniform when he went out for the night, his family said.
“He didn’t mind the long hours,” said Dana Roberts. “He wanted to take care of his family.”
A female friend picked up Brandon Roberts from work and dropped him off in St. Paul at Willard’s on Thomas Avenue and Grotto Street. Later, he and a male friend went to Johnny Baby’s.
On the morning of Sunday, Oct. 22, Roberts’ female friend banged on Jeanine Roberts’ door.
“I knew something was wrong when I looked at her,” she said. “She was crying. I said, ‘What happened?’ And she said, ‘Brandon got shot at Johnny Baby’s!’ ”
The male friend who was with Brandon Roberts at the bar later told his family there had been “some friction” between two groups of men — not involving them — inside Johnny Baby’s and they decided it was time to go, Jeanine Roberts said.
Brandon Roberts called his female friend to pick him up and, on the way to her vehicle, he was shot in the abdomen. Officers working off-duty at Johnny Baby’s bar reported hearing gunshots in the area about 2 a.m., according to police.
“He said ‘I’m hit!’ and she said, ‘What? What do you mean?’” Jeanine Roberts recounted of what Brandon’s friend told her. Another shot shattered the back window of the woman’s vehicle and she sped out of the parking lot to get Roberts to Regions Hospital, where he died, according to the cousin.
A cousin of Brandon Roberts, Melvin Paul Jr., was shot dead in Minneapolis in 2006, about six months after he moved to the Twin Cities following Hurricane Katrina, said Deatra Hollins, Melvin’s sister. No one was convicted in Paul’s killing, she said.
“I cannot live through this once again knowing somebody’s not going to get caught,” Hollins said. “We need to push to get some answers.”
St. Paul police said they continue to investigate Brandon Roberts’ killing and they ask anyone with information to call them at 651-266-5650.
Native of New Orleans, who endured 20yrs cruel Minnesota Cold, I decided at 42yrs old it was time to pack up my then 6yr old and come back to my roots. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans.
I was a 16yr old teen mother of a preterm 2lb baby girl born with a disability. With the help of my mother who had her own struggles. We survived the obstacles laid before us.
I'm the proud mother of three children with two failed adoptions, as well as a grandmother of three, two grandsons and a granddaughter. I survived two abusive marriages.
I successfully ran a soulfood restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I started creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul. He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute. I put my all into my cake business over the years as House of Cakes was started right out of my house in honor of him.
I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, foster/adoptive mother at that, being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me in a sense; but most of it poisoned my heart and soul.
I had a broken heart and I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home, myself, my New Orleans. I'm here and I'm loving it. Even being in the so called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy.
I am determined that She, yes New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up! I'm down in the boot, but I know I have a nice floppy hat awaiting my destiny...