Springfield neighbors call for end to violence after shooting death

A Springfield man was found dead in an SUV after a shooting Thursday night in Springfield and no suspect had been arrested as of Friday night.

Robert H. Robinson, 25, of Springfield, was pronounced dead at the scene at the intersection of Clifton Avenue and East John Street. He is the city’s seventh homicide victim this year.

He was found shot in the head and laying across the driver and passenger seat in a vehicle that had crashed into a tree, according to a Springfield police report.

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Springfield police were dispatched after 8 p.m. Thursday to a report of a crash involving an SUV that hit a tree.

“Then a short while later more calls came in informing us that there had actually been a shooting, the driver had been shot,” Capt. Michael Varner of the Springfield Police Division said.

Witnesses on the scene also said a man walked to the SUV at the intersection and began shooting.

Varner said detective aren’t releasing how many times Robinson was shot because the shooting remains under investigation.

Roland Gilbreath lives nearby and was home at the time of the shooting and was surprised by the scene outside his house.

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“Inside watching the Browns game, me and a couple of buddies, and my girlfriend came in and said ‘You hear any gun shots?’ and I’m like ‘No’ and she was like ‘Somebody just got shot and hit the tree across the street,” Gilbreath said.

The shooting surprised him, Gilbreath said, because the neighborhood is a nice area that’s been rebuilt lately. He’s been on Clifton Avenue for the past seven years but has noticed a change lately.

“It’s kind of trickling back to the old ways,” Gilbreath said.

A crowd formed after the shooting and police had to break up a fight at one point.

“Very sad situation,” Gilbreath said. “Just one of those things that needs to stop you know.”

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Gilbreath knows the some of the deceased’s family and said things need to get better in the community.

“We got to do something here,” he said. “I don’t know what we are going to do but we got to do something because it’s getting ridiculous. It’s hitting too close to home.”

Gilbreath has been a coach for many years, including basketball and Pee-Wee football, and also helps with Debbie’s Tough Steppers, a local girl’s drill team.

Most of his former athletes are the age of the shooting victim.

“I’ve lost a lot of them along the way that I’ve coached … You know it’s just sad, you know it’s got to stop,” Gilbreath said.

He wants people to know especially local men things can be a lot better.

“Young men, young black men, put the guns down,” he said. “There’s a better way.”

There are no suspects in custody at this time, Varner said.

“We understand that the community, as well as the family members, have questions and we are working tirelessly to get those answers for them,” Varner said. “It does take time and we are asking them for their patience while we work through this for them.”

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call the Springfield Police Division at 937-324-7685.

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