Knoxville — It was more than 12 years ago that a college party in the Old City in Downtown Knoxville turned deadly.
Edwin Todd Jr. was shot that night in a parking lot brawl. Investigators are still searching for the person who pulled the trigger.
Todd had just celebrated a birthday and his mother had just paid him a visit.
"The Lord allowed him to have a passion for drums,he started actually beating this drums on buckets," Gina Todd reminisced, "Until he got old enough and went to church to be one of the drummers at church."
She and her son shared a joy of music together.
"I love to sing, and to see one of my children, picking up where I left off with music, made me happy," Todd said.
But she never got the chance to see where that joy would take her son.
It was April 27th, 2006 when she got a devastating call in the middle of the night.
"I reached over on the nightstand and said 'hello'?" Todd said.
It was a doctor on the other line.
"He said, 'I have horrible news for you, Shaq has just been killed.' I lost it," Todd said.
The 23-year-old was found shot to death in a Knoxville parking lot.
The comical prankster was a caring older brother who grew up in Chicago before heading down South for school.
"His birth name is Edwin Joe Todd Jr., named after my husband, we called him from day 1 "JR", but when he got old enough to play basketball his friends called him Shaq," Todd said.
Barely a month before his murder, Gina went to see him.
"I told my husband I feel this strong desire to go back to Knoxville, I couldn't even tell him why I wanted to go but took the bus, rented a car, and hung out. I came back home and a month later got that call," Todd said.
Police say it was almost 3am when the trouble began.
"The victim was at the Red Iguana, a club that used to be open in the Old City," Investigator Jeff Day said.
"There was an altercation inside the club, involving possibly the victim and a couple of friends that were with him and they were asked to leave the club," Day explained.
The fight spilled outside into a nearby parking lot.
"There was a large, large fight, and at some time in the melee someone pulls a gun out and shoots Mr. Todd, everyone scatters," Day said.
The first officer showed up to scene and found Mr. Todd lying in the parking lot.
With nothing but a shirt and a shell casing to go on, police began to track down more than 20 witnesses, some from out of town.
"Sometimes you don't know which ones are witnesses and which ones are suspects at the time," Day said. "Of all the people that were there no one could identify the shooter, could or would."
"But there's gotta be a couple that know, for whatever reason they didn't talk then, maybe they will now."
Police believe a car seen at the crime could bring new leads. They were told a white, mid 90's Cadillac de Ville in very clean, good condition could be their suspect.
Gina believes JR was protecting a friend when he died and she wants to see justice served in the right way.
"They don't have to come to anybody but God and give an account of what they've done," Todd said. "I'd like for them to be caught, but they are still young people, don't send them to prison, send them somewhere where they can learn. They don't have to face me, they have to face God."
If you have any information about this case you can call KPD at 865-215-7206.
Every year, Gina Todd contacts police to remind them of her son's cold case. Here is her post on social media.
HELLO AGAIN. I'VE SENT THIS E:MAIL OUT FOR THE LAST 12 YEARS.........
NOT SURE WHO MAY BE ABLE TO HELP BRING MY SONS KILLER TO JUSTICE, BUT I'M STILL SEARCHING AND I WILL NEVER GIVE UP. ONE DAY, THEY WILL BE CHARGED. WITH YOUR HELP, IT COULD BE SOON.
March of 2006 was the last time I saw my son Edwin Joe Todd, Jr. alive. I came to Knoxville Tennessee that month from Richton Park , Illinois to visit him. The next month, April 17, was his birthday. He turned 23. I was so proud because in my mind was I have a 23 year old, a 21 year old, a 14 year old and a 10 year old. I felt no one was more blessed and proud than I. 3 boys and 1 girl. Then it happened.
About 3:45 AM the morning of April 27, 2006, 10 days after his 23rd birthday, my phone rang. The caller on the other end identified himself as Dr. ???? (can't remember his name) at a hospital in Knoxville Tennessee asking for the mother of Shaq. We, (the family) called him J.R., because he was a Junior and his friends called him Shaq because he loved basketball. When I identified myself as her, the doctor said, I have bad news for you, Shaq has just been KILLED.
According to Investigator Ron Flores of the Knoxville police department, JR was at a college party at the Old Laguana in Knoxville when an altercation broke out between a friend of his and some other guys. Investigator Flores said my son JR took the bullet for his friend JT. I don't know JT.
It's been 12 LONG years since this happened. Now, this is considered a COLD CASE. I was told by someone that the person that pulled the trigger was a black male with dread locks. That person and his brother has since left Knoxville , cut his hair and moved to the Atlanta Georgia area. The investigators know who he is, they just need someone to come forth and identify that person and THE TRIGGERMAN.
Robin Murdoch of WBIR interviewed me in November of 2006 but no one has been charged. JR is gone but NOT FORGOTTEN. He never will be.
A DETERMINDED MOTHER