The Christian Science Monitor

Solving the unsolved: How cities are turning up heat on cold cases

Shortly after a Mardi Gras parade a year ago, a group of local residents decided to extend their revelry and congregate in the Lower Ninth Ward here outside the Robinsons’ house. As their activities wound down around 8 p.m., two young black men approached in a car. They rounded the corner onto St. Claude Avenue dressed in “matching” red, white, and black athletic wear, according to court documents.

Then came the horror: Police say the men opened fire with semiautomatic rifles. Children screamed, ran into the house, and hid in closets. Janice Robinson was standing in her doorway, watching bullets tear into a red Altima parked out front. More than 100 rounds were fired in all. It was too dark to see the shooters’ faces. They vanished quickly into the night. Amid the mayhem, the Altima pulled away from the curb, rolling slowly into a nearby gas station. When it was safe, Ms. Robinson raced over to the car with her niece. At first they saw their friend Byron Jackson in the front seat, shot in the head, but alive. Three other young men in the car had been wounded as well.

Then she discovered her beloved nephew, Jamar Robinson, slumped over in the backseat. Mr. Robinson, who had been a stand-out football player in high school, was unresponsive. Janice patted his face. “There was not a drop of blood on him, which was so strange,” she says. “There was some confusion about whether he had a pulse. But he was gone.”

Police combed the area the next few days, but no one immediately came forward to identify the shooters. As the first anniversary of that

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