PORTSMOUTH, Va. - It was a spontaneous murder, and the armed robbers got away with nothing. But in the process they took a life: That of an accomplished attorney gunned down feet from his home.
"The cases you don’t solve are the ones that haunt you the whole time," said Detective Sgt. Robert McDaniel with the Portsmouth Police Department. "He was a target of opportunity."
He was an esteemed attorney, refuge officer volunteer and all-American boy, says Curtis Walton's mother, Bonnie Walton.
"A simple person - humble and kind and all about the work of his community," said Bonnie.
Curtis was taking a stroll on a spring evening on April 8, 2020. Daily walks near his home on Columbia Street in Portsmouth were the norm.
"A black, four-door car pulled up. Two young people got out of the car and approached him," said Sgt. McDaniel.
Curtis had nothing on him but a phone.
"In the process of him trying to run away, they ended up shooting him," said McDaniel.
The senseless murder happened feet from Curtis' childhood home.
"The street he grew up on, [was] supposed to call home... someone wants to gun him down and murder him," said Bonnie. "A mother gives birth; no one has the right to take a child away."
Detectives found the stolen car in which the two suspects approached Walton, but those who pulled the trigger are still on the run.
"When we get cases like this, it lives and sticks with you. This is a case ingrained in what you do," said Sgt. McDaniel.
"It is senseless and lawless, and I pray they come forward," said Cheryl Walton, Curtis' sister.
Police have tried billboards, even putting Curtis' pictures up in the Portsmouth Jail, hoping for that breadcrumb.
"Whoever is out there, think about going to bed at night. You know who did it," said Bonnie. "He was a bright, young man living life to the fullest, and he was light. He would shine wherever he went."
Now, this family says they hope whoever did this sees that light and comes forward.
"We have to be the light in our communities. Speak up and speak out," said Bonnie.
Detectives believe the people who killed Curtis could be involved in other armed robberies in the city.
Since Curtis was murdered, the family created the Curtis Walton Empowerment Fund to help youth live out their dreams and goals in the city. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.