Effort to find gay Atlanta man’s killers goes sky high

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Eight months after a gay Atlanta man was killed and his roommate shot, police still don't know who pulled the trigger. So the family of one of the men is unveiling billboards to help crack the case.

One of the billboards (below) sits near the intersection of Candler and Glenwood roads; others will go up in locations near South DeKalb Mall. Atlanta police and Kate Cotrona Krumm, the sister of Patrick Cotrona (photo), were scheduled to speak publicly about the case on Thursday.

Cotrona was shot in the abdomen and killed last May as he, roommate Marcus Peden and a third person walked home from a bar in East Atlanta. The attack, an apparent robbery, sparked outrage, attracted extensive media coverage and a $25,000 Crime Stoppers reward to help solve the case.

Peden was shot after he sprayed one of the attackers with mace as he tried to rob him. He is gay, though police have said sexual orientation did not appear to play a role in the shooting. Friends have posted on social media that Peden and Cotrona were boyfriends. Cotrona's family has declined to discuss his sexual orientation.

Krumm issued an open letter on Jan. 10 to announce the billboards, which were in part funded through the Go Fund Me campaign Justice for Patrick Cotrona. It's raised $3,260 of its $5,000 goal.

It has been nearly eight months since Patrick’s murder, and the police have exhausted all leads, which means the possibility for justice seems to be fading. We refuse to accept this.

Along with private donors, the mayor’s office has generously set aside a $25,000 reward through Crime Stoppers to incent those who have knowledge surrounding this heinous crime. Our family and friends believe that those who have critical information may not be aware of the monetary incentive; therefore, we have taken steps to publicize the reward in hopes that someone steps forward and provides the right lead.

Atlanta police have said the shooting is linked to a pair of armed robberies that same night and possibly an earlier shooting in Grant Park. Mayor Kasim Reed has spoken out about the crimes and beefed up patrols in Grant Park and East Atlanta. Police later released sketches of suspects in the shooting, which are included in the billboards unveiled Thursday.

The full statement from Cotrona's family:

A letter to the citizens of metro-Atlanta:

On May 25 of 2013, the Cotrona family was momentously saddened to lose our beloved Patrick, who was murdered in East Atlanta while walking from his home to a local restaurant. Our family has received an enormous amount of love and care from our extended family and friends as well as from the Atlanta community at large. We could not have emotionally survived such a loss without your support.

It has been nearly eight months since Patrick’s murder, and the police have exhausted all leads, which means the possibility for justice seems to be fading. We refuse to accept this.

Along with private donors, the mayor’s office has generously set aside a $25,000 reward through Crime Stoppers to incent those who have knowledge surrounding this heinous crime. Our family and friends believe that those who have critical information may not be aware of the monetary incentive; therefore, we have taken steps to publicize the reward in hopes that someone steps forward and provides the right lead.

As of Thursday, January 16 (weather permitting), billboards and posters will be up in areas of East Atlanta and Dekalb County, advertising the reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of Patrick’s murderers. Look for these advertisements on I-20; the corner of Glenwood Avenue and Candler Road; and in various locations around South Dekalb Mall.

We would like to thank you for all your continued support, and we hope that 2014 will provide our family and Atlanta citizens with much-deserved justice.

Peace and thanks,
The Cotrona Family

[Patch | Atlanta Magazine | top photo via | bottom photo by Project Q Atlanta]

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