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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Gay bar owner shot dead, questions abound

Durand Robinson
  • queerty.com
  • Durand Robinson
Anthony Toliver says it was about half-past-midnight when the board associated with local gay bar Traxx adjourned its most recent meeting, which went from Tuesday night into the wee hours of Wednesday morning. He was under the impression that Durand Robinson, a fellow board member and co-owner of Traxx, would be heading home to Decatur from their meeting place at Bryson Square Apartments on 26th St., north of Midtown. But, about an hour later, Robinson was found dead in a Southwest Atlanta roadway, nowhere near where the meeting was held or his home. "That’s one thing we find very puzzling," Toliver told CL.

Police are releasing few details about the apparent homicide. According to an APD incident report, officers were dispatched to the 1700 block of Hadlock Street at about 1:30 a.m. in response to a reported shooting, and found Robinson's lifeless body lying in the roadway. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Neighbors in the surrounding area told police they heard an argument taking place — presumably involving Robinson — then heard gunshots and a car speed away.

Police are investigating the possibility that Robinson was targeted because of his perceived sexuality, and whether or not the incident should be classified as a bias crime as such. Toliver clarifies that although Robinson was active in the gay community, he was not homosexual. Public Affairs Manager Carlos Campos released the following statement:

“The Atlanta Police Department’s Homicide Unit is investigating all possibilities concerning the shooting death of Durand Robinson in the early morning hours of August 25th. It has reached no conclusions or made any determinations on whether this case will be classified as a ‘bias crime.’ Homicide presently has no suspects or significant information on a motive, but is actively pursuing several leads. We cannot comment or speculate further, due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.”

Through his connection to Traxx, Robinson was peripherally involved in organizing the Atlanta Black Gay Pride Celebration, which takes place in less than a week, from September 1-6. Raymond Duke, president of In The Life Atlanta, official organizer of Black Gay Pride, thinks APD's investigation into the shooting as a bias crime is misguided.

"I doubt seriously that it was [bias related]," Duke told CL earlier today. "No one's said that or thinks that. I hope people take time to focus on the loss and the senselessness of the crime, rather than whether it was a hate crime. This could have happened to anyone."

In The Life Atlanta will recognize Robinson at a candlelight vigil on Wednesday, September 1.

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