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Family, friends rally year after Romen Phelps shot dead at Dreyfoos

'I'll never have closure. You never want to bury your child,' says Robbin Jackman
Posted at 12:35 AM, May 14, 2023

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Family and friends of Roman Phelps, who was killed during a confrontation with police at Dreyfoos School of the Arts last year, rallied outside the West Palm Beach Police Department on Saturday exactly one year after the incident.

"I'll never have closure," said Robbin Jackman, a mother in mourning. "You never want to bury your child.

"Everything that they made a decision on, everything that is written in black and white, we want to see all of that. And we deserve to have that. We need it. We need to know."

She is looking for answers why her 33-year-old son who was shot and killed after he crashed his van through the gates at the school during school hours on May 13, 2022.

Romen Phelps
Romen Phelps was identified as the suspect who crashed a van onto the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts campus before he was shot and killed by police.

"We were good friends. We went to Dreyfoos together," Skyler Meany said. "I was devastated. I still get goosebumps just now thinking about it.

And Lynn McKeel is still feeling the pain.

"We know who Roman was and he wasn't a monster," McKeel said. "He never intended to hurt anybody."

Flowers at the auditorium at Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach on May 16, 2022.jpg

West Palm Beach

Students return to Dreyfoos School of the Arts following police-involved shooting

Matt Papaycik
11:48 AM, May 16, 2022

Palm Beach State Attorney Dave Aronberg issued a report on May 3 about the incident that said Phelps was walking around campous in an "aggressive, agitated manner." The report included information from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, West Palm Beach police, statements from school employees and students and surveillance video.

After being confronted by an off-duty West Palm Beach police officer, things escalated and Phelps reached for the officer's gun.

His DNA was found on the firearm and toxicology reports also showed extremely high levels of Delta 9 THC in Phelps' system.

"I've never known him to be aggressive," McKeel said. "I’ve never seen him lose his temper. I’ve never seen him offer violence to anybody."

Friends and family said he suffered with mental health issues and that should've been addressed before the shooting.

"There are ways to de-escalate," McKeel said. "There’s also non-lethal force that could’ve been used."

"Any threat to our schools is going to be addressed appropriately and quickly," West Palm Beach spokesman Mike Jachles said on the day of the shooting.

But now after finding that the off-duty officer's use of deadly force was justified and no charges will be filed, these folks want to see why.

"We want to know what happened," Meany said."We want to see footage, we want evidence of why one of my closest friends is no longer on this Earth."

Demanding answering while remembering Roman,