Orlando police ask for public’s help in solving homicide of 15-year-old boy

Antwan Roberts Jr. was shot, killed in December

Orlando police are renewing their calls for tips in an effort to find out who shot and killed a 15-year-old boy last year.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando police are renewing their calls for tips in an effort to find out who shot and killed a 15-year-old boy last year.

Detectives are investigating the homicide of Antwan Roberts Jr., who was shot and killed on Dec. 8, 2020, at Parramore Avenue and Columbia Street.

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Police said they found Roberts, who was a freshman at Wekiwa High School, on the sidewalk. Detective Teresa Sprague said the teen was killed just after leaving his grandmother’s home.

Investigators are now asking anyone with information about Roberts’ death to come forward to help bring justice and closure for his family.

“We know folks were outside because of the number of 911 calls that we received,” Sprague said. “Off the top my head, I want to say there was six to eight calls roughly that we got. Not everyone saw what happened some people heard what happened, but some folks did see what happened.”

The detective said that if witnesses had cooperated immediately, police could have solved the case in a matter of days.

“And if they are willing to sit down with us, then I’m confident that we can apprehend those responsible for Anton’s death,” Sprague said.

While police are still looking for the people involved in the teen’s slaying, Sprague did reveal more details of the crime and a possible motive.

“I would say, these are kids who know each other, who grew up together, who maybe have chosen different friends along the way. And those friends don’t get along. I wouldn’t call it gang activity,” Sprague said.

The detective said the victim had been involved in a dispute over social media, likely Instagram, that escalated prior to the shooting.

“We believe that there was an ongoing beef between Antwan and some folks that he knew that rose to a level where they felt that was the way (the shooting) they wanted to go,” Sprague said. “You can’t handle adversity at 15 years old with a gun.”

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Police are urging people with information to call or text Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS. Text and calls are anonymous.

There’s a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

This all coming after a series of community meetings in Parramore after the city of Orlando hired nationally recognized police trainer Dr. Randy Nelson to put together community safety and engagement action plan.

“I think this is a start, but like I said before it’s only a start,” Nelson said.

Part of the plan includes building trust, policy and oversight, community policing and more. Nelson said there’s an event this Saturday in Parramore in fact aimed at better building community relations.

“Adopt the block where police officers will give out of their cars and go in and meet the residents of the community block by block,” Nelson said.

Parramore Adopt-A-Block (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

About the Authors:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.