Family of 20-year-old murdered at Akron movie theater desperate for justice

Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 10:15 PM EDT
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - The family of a 20-year-old woman who was murdered at an Akron movie theater is urging the public to help police arrest her shooter.

20-year-old Atavia Robinson came to the Regal Movie theater on Independence Avenue in Akron with her boyfriend for a date night. When her boyfriend got into an argument with someone on the phone, they left the movie early, and that’s when they were both gunned down in the parking lot.

“It’s unexplainable, can’t eat, can’t sleep, don’t really know what to do,” said her mother, Leah Russell.

Leah Russell and Gary Robinson are living every parent’s worst nightmare.

“I never thought ever that I would see my daughter as broken as she is over the loss of her daughter,” said Atavia’s grandmother, Jeryl Pickett. “It’s just, it’s something that you can’t fix as a grandmother.”

The parents told 19 News their 20-year-old daughter Atavia Robinson, often called Tay for short, was full of life and had big dreams. She wanted to open her own business.

“Outgoing, beautiful smile,” her mother said.

“Yeah, and laughter that can light up a room,” her father said of his daughter. “She wasn’t afraid of being herself. She was just 100% Atavia at all times. That’s what I loved about her the most.”

Her life was cut short during a date night with her boyfriend.

“She told me she was going to a picnic and then to the movies,” recalled her father. “She was super-duper excited just happy, just full of life like she always is, and you never realize how much someone is full of life until you have to bury them.”

At around midnight on June 26, they were both shot in the parking lot. Robinson died at the hospital, but her 22-year-old boyfriend survived.

“It’s a horrible thing that her life was taken away at the age of 20 and she was unarmed, and she was running away when she was killed,” her grandmother said. “How does that happen? How does that happen in “what we’re supposed to think is a civilized society, it’s not civilized anymore.”

With all of the gun violence in Akron these past few months, the family feels like Robinson’s story slipped through the cracks, but they’re not giving up.

“It’s hard because I mean I feel like she’s being pushed away to the side because there’s so much going on, not enough attention, and they’re overwhelmed because of the crime, it needs to stop. It needs to stop. No more people should be getting murdered like this.”

The movie theater doesn’t have any surveillance cameras and police said there were no witnesses. At this time police don’t have a description of the shooter, but the family feels like somebody must have seen something.

“He’s not worth it,” the mother said of her daughter’s killer. “Turn him in. Tay deserves justice, she did not deserve this. It’s not right for anybody to keep their mouth shut.”

Crimestoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest. The family has also raised $15,000 on their own to help drum up leads.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Akron Police Department Detective Bureau at 330-375-2490 or 330-375-2Tip, The Summit County Crimestoppers, Inc. at 330-434-COPS (2677). You can also text TIPSCO with your tips to 274637 (CRIMES).

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