May 19, 2017 Published in Obituaries, Other News

Remembering Desmond Roseboro

By Carla Branch

Desmond Roseboro (Courtesy Photo)

Funeral services for 28-year-old Desmond Roseboro will be held on Thursday, May 25, at Antioch Church of Christ, 1120 Queen Street, Alexandria. There will be a viewing at the church from 10:00 a.m. to noon, followed immediately by the service. He will be buried at Bethel Cemetery in Alexandria. Donna Walker James has established a GoFundMe page to help defray funeral and other expenses. Those who wish to do so are asked to contribute to this effort.

“Desmond was a good person,” said Angela Roseboro, his mother. “He was always smiling and happy.”

Desmond grew up in the Lynhaven neighborhood of Alexandria surrounded by a large extended family. “We were very close,” said Deorsay Pratt, Desmond’s older brother. “He looked up to me and I looked out for him. We spent a lot of time together, mostly just being around family.”

Desmond attended school in Alexandria but left T. C. Williams High School for Job Corps. “He got his GED and then learned a trade,” Pratt said.

Desmond also spent time at The Alexandria Seaport Foundation learning about building boats and other life skills. “That’s how we learned about Desmond,” Walker James said. “My husband Tobin James Sr. started HonestAire, a heating and air conditioning company 17 years ago. Nine years ago, he had so many customers that he decided to expand the business and hire someone.

“At a conference, I ran into Joe Youcha from The Seaport Foundation and asked if he had a young person who would be interested in learning about heating and air conditioning. He recommended Desmond and my husband hired him. He has worked for HonestAire ever since.

“My husband trained him about the business, which included how to deal with customers. He learned a lot and was very reliable. He would show up for work every morning at 7:30 and always greeted my husband the same way – ‘hello big man’.

“He was the company’s only other employee. We have two trucks on the road and Desmond drove one of them. HonestAire has about 1,000 customers and many of them knew and liked Desmond. We will all miss him,” Walker James said.

Walker James and her husband learned about Desmond’s death because of the company truck. “Desmond worked with my husband all day last Friday and left in the company truck as usual,” she said. “On Saturday morning, the Alexandria police came to our home and asked if the truck they found at the crime scene was ours. They told us Desmond had been shot.”

The details of how and why the shooting occurred have not been released by the Alexandria Police Department. “We’ve heard a lot of things about that but we really don’t know for sure,” Pratt said. “We were all together at my ant’s house in Alexandria on Friday night to celebrate my cousin Julian’s birthday. We were also planning a community celebration of Julian’s life and a kind of rally against violence for Saturday. We were at my aunt’s house until a little after midnight then everybody went their own way.”

Julian Dawkins, the cousin to whom Pratt referred, was shot and killed by an off-duty Arlington County sheriff’s deputy on May 22, 2013, near his home in Lynhaven. The Tierra Ruffin-Pratt Foundation was planning the celebration and rally that never happened. Ruffin-Pratt, a basketball star at T. C. Williams and the University of North Carolina, is back home again, playing for the Washington Mystics. Ruffin-Pratt is Julian and Desmond’s cousin.

While rumors abound about what happened to Desmond after he left his family on Friday night, police have released few details. We know that Desmond drove to an Extended Stay America hotel at 200 Bluestone Road in Alexandria to attend some type of party. Police were dispatched there in response to a ‘shots fired’ call at 2:18 a.m. Officers found three injured adults at the scene. Desmond was transported to a hospital with life-threatening injuries while a 21-year-old female and a 35-year-old female were transported to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. Desmond died, according to Alexandria police, on Sunday, May 14.  This is the first homicide in Alexandria this year. Anyone with any information is asked to call Detective Will Oakley at 703 746-6606.


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