Donegal Insurance Refuses to Pay After 6-Year-Old Boy Critically Shot at First Class Barbershop in Springfield, Illinois

(LEFT TO RIGHT) Marquidaa Bolden, Max’s mother, and Max Bolden, victim of the shooting at First Class Barbershop in Springfield, Illinois.


Springfield, Illinois – The Insurance Company for First Class Barbershop, located at 100 N. Wesley St. in Springfield, Illinois, is refusing to release payment for medical expenses for a six-year-old child who was shot inside the barbershop while waiting to get his haircut. Now, Donegal Insurance, the insurer in question, is facing legal actions in Sangamon County.

According to the Springfield Police, on April 8, 2023, at approximately 3:28 p.m., officers were called to First Class Barbershop for a shots fired call. According to police, two people were shooting at each other. Shortly after the shooting, an off-duty Springfield officer alerted Sangamon County dispatch that a victim of the shooting, Maximus (Max) Bolden, age 6, had just arrived there in a gray Hyundai and that he was brought in by his step-father. A report listed Max’s injury as a gunshot wound to his upper left thigh, resulting in a serious arterial bleed, and his condition was listed as life-threatening. He was later transferred to the Intensive Care Unit and air-lifted to St. Louis Children’s Hospital due to the severity of his injury.

According to investigation documents provided to us, the shooting occurred during an argument between two brothers at First Class Barbershop over the payment of a $20 haircut. One brother, identified as Ryan M. Roberson, age 36, had just received a haircut from his brother, who was working as a barber at the shop. The report states that Ryan claimed to have already paid for his haircut, while his brother insisted that he had not. This disagreement escalated when Ryan pulled out a gun, waving it around and threatening to shoot up the barbershop and his sibling. Max’s stepfather, who is also a brother of Ryan and the barber, intervened to break up the argument and managed to escort Ryan outside. While Ryan was outside, it was reported that he continuously threatened to shoot up the barbershop, causing the brother to retrieve “the barbershop gun” from a drawer. The brother then went to open the door to see if Ryan was gone. As the brother was walking back in, it was reported that Ryan came out of the car, pointed the gun at the brother, and started shooting. The brother then shot back. According to police, five shell casings were found at the scene near Wesley St., where Ryan was observed in a vehicle. Additionally, police estimate that there were approximately 10-15 people inside the barbershop during the shooting.

(Pictured Above) Ryan M. Roberson – age 37

Ryan was charged in the shooting with Armed Violence, a class X felony, Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm, a class 1 felony, Possession of a Weapon by a Felon, a class 2 felony, and Possession of a Controlled Substance, a class 4 felony. Investigators also learned that the gun used in the shooting of 6-year-old Max had previously been used in the shooting at Roberson’s ex-girlfriend’s house on January 29, 2023. Roberson had a warrant out for his arrest for that shooting at the time when he shot Max.

In a plea deal with prosecutors in January 2024, Ryan pleaded guilty to reckless discharge of a firearm, a class 4 felony, and possession of a weapon by a felon, a class 2 felony. The remainder of the charges in this case were dismissed. Ryan also accepted another plea deal in the case involving the shooting at his ex-girlfriend’s house, which occurred two months before he shot 6-year-old Max with the same gun. In this case, he pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, a class 2 felony.

According to the Illinois Department of Corrections, Roberson will be released within the next 4 years on April 11, 2028.

Although the criminal conclusion of this case has been resolved, we are told that Max’s medical issues are extensive and ongoing, and that he will require lifelong medical treatment.

In the recent court filings against First Class Barbershop’s insurance company, Donegal Insurance, Attorney Benjamin Sgro is representing Max’s mother, Marquidaa Bolden. He is requesting the court to enforce the settlement agreement that was agreed upon. According to the settlement agreement, First Class Barbershop’s Medical Payment Coverage limit of $15,000 was agreed upon, with $5,000 allocated to a Medicaid lien, $5,753.30 being paid to the law firm Sgro, Hanrahan, Durr, Rabin & Reinbold LLP, and $3,944.70 designated for an account that cannot be accessed without the court’s approval but can be paid to Max on his 18th birthday.

However, Attorney Sgro provided the court with emails showing that, following the settlement agreement, a payment has not been received. He has repeatedly attempted to contact Donegal Insurance’s Attorney, Paul Dykstra, who is no longer responding. “I have sent several emails and left numerous messages in that time requesting an update,” Sgro wrote. “Virtually no response has been provided.” Sgro also told Attorney Dykstra, “Max will need lifelong medical treatment as a result of this incident, and Ms. Bolden desperately needs these proceeds to care for him. Simply put, we cannot continue to await payment if your client has no intention of tendering the same despite the Court’s Order. All we ask is that your client fulfill its obligations in accordance with our agreement and the Court’s Order so that Ms. Bolden can provide and care for her now-disabled 6-year-old son.”

Max Bolden, who is described as a very smart and bright little guy, still has a GoFundMe page and it is still accepting donations. If you would like to donate, please CLICK HERE.

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