Homicide victim Jafet Robles remembered as an “inspiration”

Springfield resident was active in community organizations

Jafet Robles is seen here in a a WWLP file image from June of 2017.

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Friends and family are mourning the loss of Jafet Robles, a community activist who was found dead at Szot Park in Chicopee.

So many people in the community are devastated by the loss of Robles. Several people left flowers at Szot Park in Chicopee Tuesday morning; the place where Robles’ body was found with multiple gunshot wounds Monday.

Holyoke City Councilor Nelson Roman told 22News that Robles was like a brother to him. He said that Robles was best known for his advocacy, and for his commitment to helping others.

Robles spent most of his time working for Neighbor to Neighbor, a group that promotes environmental and educational justice. He was also involved in Jobs not Jails, a campaign to end mass incarceration.

“What I’m going to miss the most about him is the fact that he was a fighter, and he was truly an inspiration to keep pushing to save the world,” Roman said.

Roman said that Robles quickly turned his life around after having been incarcerated as a teenager. He received his associate’s degree, then dedicated his time to helping others.

“Jafet was one the front lines. He used to meet at this office in Holyoke for the Jobs not Jails Coalition in Holyoke, and he would educate us. He would say ‘hey, call your state rep, call your state senator, we have to get this bill passed.’ He cared about Grenada, Jobs not Jails, and he cared about ending the school-to-prison pipeline.”

Jim Leydon, spokesperson for the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office, told 22News that Robles is believed to have arrived in the area of Szot Park at around 9:00 Sunday evening; about 10 hours before his body was discovered. If you have any information that can help investigators, you are urged to call the Chicopee Police Department at (413) 594-1730 or the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit at (413) 505-5993. You can also anonymously text a tip by texting the word “SOLVE” and your message to CRIMES (274637).

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