Friend, family say slain club owner wasn’t gay

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imageThe shooting death of a gay club owner and party promoter on Wednesday continues to draw widespread media attention, with two outlets reporting that Durand Robinson wasn’t gay, casting additional questions over the motive for the homicide.

Robinson, 50, was shot once in the chest about 1a.m. Wednesday on a street in southwest Atlanta, far from his Decatur home and Traxx Atlanta, the popular black gay on Columbia Drive in Decatur that he co-owned.

His death comes a week before Black Gay Pride, the annual event over Labor Day Weekend that draws thousands of people to the city for scores of events. Traxx is sponsoring several official events with In the Life Atlanta, which organizes Black Gay Pride, along with other parties at various clubs including Traxx.

Atlanta police have no suspects in the case and have not publicly said what prompted the shooting. The agency’s LGBT liaison is “engaged” in the case, a department spokesperson said Thursday, and police are investigating if Robinson was shot as part of a bias crime, along with other possible motives including carjacking and robbery.

On Thursday, two media outlets offered new details about Robinson and the hours before the shooting. The takeaways:

Prince Robinson, one of Durand Robinson’s brothers, tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his older brother was in the process of getting married to a longtime girlfriend.

“He had a crowded house,” Prince Robinson said of his brother, who was the oldest of six. “He was never married. I do think he was in the process of getting married [to] … his girlfriend of 2 1/2 years. He comes from a Christian background. A community activist. Never drinks. Never smokes. Didn’t have an enemy in the world.”

Anthony Toliver, a board member of Traxx Atlanta, tells Creative Loafing that Robinson was not gay.

Toliver clarifies that although Robinson was active in the gay community, he was not homosexual.

Raymond Duke, president of In The Life Atlanta, tells the Loaf that the Atlanta police investigation into the shooting as a possible 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.”

Robinson spent the final hours of his life in an apartment on 26th Street north of Midtown, meeting with Traxx Atlanta board members, the Loaf reports.

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.

Ebonee Bradford, ITLA’s vice president, tells WABE that it wasn’t uncommon to find Robinson helping gay youth in metro Atlanta and educating people about HIV. She was with Robinson two hours before his death.

“He helped many people. He was a family man and his family was extended. The most important thing that was true near and dear to his heart was children–the youth.”

Robinson was set to celebrate his 51st birthday on Sept. 2. Now, a day before his birthday, ITLA will pay tribute to Robinson during Black Gay Pride’s opening Candlelight Vigil on Sept. 1 at First MCC of Atlanta. Traxx announced late Friday that it will hold another candlelight vigil especially for Robinson at the club on Saturday night, Aug. 28.

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