NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans man who risked his life to save a toddler from a burning home in 2017 was found fatally shot Monday night, authorities said.
Jerome “Ronie” Roberts, 34, was found face down in the middle of a New Orleans street, NOLA.com reported. Investigators have not released the name of any suspects and have not revealed a possible motive, the website reported.
“They took a big piece of our family away from us,” Roberts’ cousin, Tyiesha Broadway, told NOLA.com on Tuesday. “They took a very compassionate person who valued life.”
New Orleans Police Department spokesperson Gary Scheets told reporters that Roberts had “an undetermined number of gunshot wounds.”
On June 22, 2017, Roberts, an offshore worker, crawled into a burning home with a neighbor to rescue a 3-year-old boy who was trapped in a back bedroom, WWL reported.
The pair did not find the child on their first attempt, the television station reported. They returned and discovered the boy hiding under a blanket. Roberts and his neighbor were able to pull the child to safety, NOLA.com reported.
“Once I heard there was a kid in there … I wasn’t worried about the fire,” Roberts told WWL. “If somebody’s life needs to be saved, I’ll jump in and help if I could.”
Roberts’ death Monday was the latest tragedy in his family.
His brother, Benny Roberts, 33, was fatally shot Aug. 5, 2020, three blocks from the site of the 2017 fire, NOLA.com reported. Authorities since have filed a murder charge against a man who was dating the mother of Benny Roberts’ child, the website reported.
Jerome Roberts is survived by his parents, a sister, his fiancee and three sons, including an infant, NOLA.com reported.
“Our family will never be the same,” Broadway told the website.