They stood in the cold, letting the tears fall and feeling numb.
"There was no need for this to occur, Robbie would have given up the bike, the wallet, the cell phone, whatever they had asked for including the shirt off his back,” said Rob’s mother, Dawn Ponsi. “There was no need to escalate it to this level.”
Dawn says she's heartbroken, and trying to make sense of the violent attack that left her 29-year-old son dead.
"Just very upset by the set of circumstances, they took him too early," she said.
Rob was riding his bike home Saturday night after getting off work at The James Joyce Pub in Harbor East. Just after 9 p.m., and minutes from home, police say Rob was surrounded by a group. A few witnesses saw it all happen near the intersection of Old York Road and Venable Avenue in Waverly.
"He had his bike in his hands, he was waving it at the guys, he was trying to get away from them but they kept circling him, they wouldn't leave him alone," one man said. “They were yelling obscenities and threatening him, saying what they were going to do to him.”
Charging documents say the group started punching and kicking Rob, then one teen pulled out a large knife and started stabbing him. The group stole Rob's cell phone and bicycle before running away.
17-year-old Antwan Eldridge, 16-year-old Daquan Middleton, and 15-year-old Prince Green are charged in the brutal ambush.
"They should have been looking forward to proms, and driver’s licenses and sports at school, and not this, not this," said Dawn.
Dozens of people came together Tuesday night to share the pain and offer support. They prayed for peace on a night that should have been a celebration for Rob. January 12 would have been his 30th birthday. And while there were candles and singing, this vigil was not the birthday celebration his family wanted.
"It's unreal that we're doing this for his birthday,” his sister, Briana Miles said. “I shoulda been calling him to make a plan to take him out, or stop by to see him or something."
She says the entire family is grateful three people have been charged in the crime. Mow they just want justice for Rob.
"I would hope the other teenagers come forward and own what happened,” Dawn said. “We can't change the circumstances, but it would bring peace to the family."
According to charging documents, Eldridge, Middleton and Green all admitted to robbing and beating Rob. Green told police he used his knife to stab the 29-year-old. All three have been charged as adults.
However, police say the three teens did not act alone, and officers are still looking for others. If you know anything, please call Homicide Detectives at 410-396-2100.