When the family of Durand Robinson got word he had been shot and killed last month, they found themselves unable to reconcile the violence of the act with the loving, supportive demeanor of their loved one. People like Durand, they said, don’t get shot. Not on purpose anyway.
“It was totally devastating,” said his brother Dasanta Robinson, 49, of Decatur. “He would give you the shirt off his back. He was a God-fearing man.”
Durand Robinson, 50, was found dead, his body lying in the street, after police were called to a reported shooting at the 1800 block of Hadlock Street in southwest Atlanta at about 1:30 a.m. Aug. 25. Nearby residents told police they heard an argument, several gunshots and then a car speeding away. Robinson was pronounced dead at the scene.
Atlanta police are investigating the killing, and the motive remains unknown. Durand Robinson was a well-known figure in the city’s gay community. He was co-owner of a club, Traxx, a popular nightclub on Columbia Avenue. He took part ownership of the club more than a decade ago after retiring from a 30-year career with Delta Air Lines, said his sister, Dorneria Robinson, 48, of Decatur.
He was also known as an organizer for the Black Gay Pride festival in Atlanta, which attracts thousands of people to the metro area each year. This year, the 14th annual festival begins Labor Day weekend.
The day after the shooting, family and friends gathered inside a home in Lithonia and remembered Durand Robinson. Relatives said he was steadfastly committed to the children around him, quick to give advice and encourage education.
“He was a role model. He was like a father figure,” said Durand Robinson’s niece, Pamela Frink, 20, of Decatur. “He was known for lectures. He would give you lectures in a minute.”
He had strong opinions on parenting and was quick to tell parents they had to set strong examples for their children, said Debra Robinson, a sister. He had one child, according to his obituary: Irillia “Wynter” Robinson.
Debra Robinson said she remembers her brother Durand on multiple occasions saying, “If you act ghetto, (your children will) act ghetto. You are your child’s reflection.”
Durand Robinson was a 1977 graduate of the now-defunct Brown High School in Atlanta. He also graduated from Mercer University in the mid-1980s, relatives said. He volunteered with groups such as the March of Dimes and various breast cancer organizations.
Funeral services were scheduled to be held at Beulah Missionary Baptist Church in Decatur at 11 a.m. on Sept. 1. He was to be buried in Kennedy Memorial Cemetery in Ellenwood.
Survivors include his daughter and two sisters and his brothers, Dasanta, Delmond and Marlos Robinson and Johnny Fred.