At Closing Time

Cold case: Two years ago, Anthony Duron, an innocent bystander, was killed at Pearl nightclub

As soon as Nancy Duron saw the clothes her son was wearing, she knew exactly what Anthony Duron had planned for the evening.

"He had that pair of slacks he wore to go to Pearl," Duron said, referring to a now-renamed nightclub on Wetmore Road. "He liked going there. But the dress code, you had to go formal, and he didn't like that. He didn't like slacks, but I told him, 'You're growing up; you have to dress up.'"

Anthony Duron had recently turned 21 and was getting himself into a consistent, responsible life routine: He worked during the day, and then helped care for his 3-year-old daughter, Lilianah, in the evenings. When he wanted to go out, as he did on Aug. 14, 2010, he always made sure there was someone to watch Lilianah, his mother said.

Duron died early the next morning, from a bullet to the back of his head that apparently was in no way intended for him.

It was closing time at Pearl, about 2 a.m. on Aug. 15, and the parking lot was teeming with patrons leaving the club. Duron was with some friends, walking back to their cars, when a fight broke out among the crowd.

"There was a fight that night, but not about him," Nancy said.

Shots were fired, and the 100-plus people still in the parking lot scattered. Nancy Duron said that Anthony's friend Pablo Sierra looked back as he ran and saw Anthony lying on the pavement, dead.

Anthony was one of four people shot that evening. Two other men and one woman were wounded, but they all survived.

Nancy Duron got a call not long after the shooting. When she heard what had happened, her first reaction was disbelief. Then she started screaming.

"I just went crazy," she said. "I hung up the phone and called his phone. I kept calling his phone, but no one was picking up."

Tucson police have not made an arrest in the shooting, although they have several persons of interest. The large number of people in the parking lot at the time of the incident, and the unknown number of people who left the scene before police arrived, made an already complicated case that much harder to solve.

"This was definitely a case of wrong place, wrong time (for Anthony)," said Tucson police Det. Mike Carroll, who has been assigned to the homicide for the past two years. "It makes it a lot harder because of the number of people there. No one person has pointed out, 'I saw so-and-so shoot Anthony Duron.' But there may be a witness out there, and we haven't found them."

Anthony's death came as local law enforcement was dealing with one of the deadliest spates of violence in the region's history. Eight people became homicide victims in a two-week span in late August 2010. Five of those killings have been solved—some almost right away, and others a year or more later.

Carroll said Duron's case can still be solved, but police will need a break to help tie the forensic evidence it has to a suspect. That break would likely have to be in the form of someone coming forward after staying silent to this point.

"I've had plenty of cases like that; I just had one recently," Carroll said. "It happens. Someone might have seen something, and things have changed in their life, and they're more willing to come forward now."

Anthony, the oldest of Nancy Duron's eight children, helped provide significant financial support for his family through his job at a fire/storm/flood-damage restoration company. Not long after Anthony's death, Nancy's husband, a roofer, suffered an injury and was no longer able to work. The two are now in the process of getting divorced, Nancy Duron said.

"It's been crazy. I don't know how we've managed without (Anthony)," she said. "His daughter is always asking, 'Nana, have you heard anything? Have they got the guy?' I hope one day, they do find the person who did this. I need somebody to speak up."

Anyone with information related to the shooting of Anthony Duron is encouraged to call 911 or 88-CRIME.

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