Durand Robinson, a promoter for Traxx, a club that catered to black gay men, was also a key organizer for Atlanta’s Black Gay Pride. He was killed eight months ago in what police believe was an attempted robbery by someone he knew. His body was found in the middle of Hadlock Street and the suspect stole Robinson’s truck and drove it a short distance before crashing just a few miles away in East Point.
According to a police report, neighborhood residents told police they heard shouting at about 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 25 followed by a single gunshot. Durand Robinson was found dead in the middle of the street by first responders.
Robinson’s friends and family will hold a vigil in his memory tonight at 7 p.m. at Hadlock Street.
Sexual orientation not motive in killing
Family and friends of Robinson have said he was not gay. Major Keith Meadows, commander of the APD’s Major Crimes Section, said Robinson’s sexual orientation did not play a role in the shooting but would not comment about the relationship police believe Robinson had with his killer.
“We don’t want Mr. Robinson to be forgotten,” Meadows said. “It’s important we get out and pound the streets … and try to solicit help from the public.”
Thursday night, police and Robinson’s family walked the neighborhood where he was killed to ask residents for help to catch his killer.
“Right now we’re trying to identify a potential suspect,” Investigator J. Thorpe Jr., who is leading the investigation, said while standing on Hadlock Street before handing out flyers to residents.
“All we have right now is a nickname. I think I have the person’s true name but now … I just need someone to definitely say this is the person known in this area by his street name,” Thorpe said.
Another suspect is also sought as an accomplice, he added.
Residents typically phone police with information in the days following a canvass, Thorpe said.
Crime Stoppers is offering a $4,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Robinson’s attacker.
Family, police seek closure
Also walking along Hadlock Street was Debra Robinson, 43, the sister of Durand Robinson. Numerous nieces and nephews were with her, several wearing t-shirts with a photo of Durand Robinson on them as a tribute to a man known as “Dad” and “Uncle” to an extended family, including many young black gay people.
“We’re all restless. We want this resolved,” she said. “Even though it’s been eight months it is still painful until we see an end to this.”
Officer Patricia Powell, one of the APD’s two LGBT liaisons, said this case was personal to her.
“It hits close to home,” she said.
Powell did not know Durand Robinson well but had met him shortly before he was killed. They met during meetings in the days leading up to Black Gay Pride, held annually over Labor Day weekend.
“I just hope we find out who did this because it’s been almost a year,” she said.
Investigator Thorpe is hopeful that police outreach into the community will prompt someone to speak out and help finally solve the case.
“All our homicide cases are important to solve to bring some kind of peace and closure to the family. We cannot bring their loved one back, but at least it can ease their mind to know the person who did this is not out on the street,” he said.
Top photo: Atlanta Police canvass the area near where Durand Robinson was killed (by Matt Hennie, ProjectQAtlanta.com)