9 Investigates 3-year-old slaying of bar owner

by: Mark Becker Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Traffic roars along Wilkinson Boulevard without noticing the weathered gray building that Roosevelt Hinton had transformed into a place full of life and laughter.

It's the same bar where Hinton was shot and killed three years ago in a murder that stunned so many of the people who'd come to know and love him.

"That was a real tough day on everybody," said Norman Craig.

Craig was one of those who gathered that afternoon in October 2010, watching as police searched for evidence inside and outside the Getaway Lounge.

Three years later, they're still looking.

"Overall, there's not a lot of information about what he was targeted or who targeted him," said Capt. Cecil Brisbon with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Brisbon said Hinton was alone in the bar, there was money missing from the cash register, and the driver of a beer truck who'd found him had seen a young man walk out of the club several minutes earlier, drinking a beer as he got into a dark-colored Honda and drove off.

"But that's where it ends," Brisbon said. "That's all the information we have. We didn't have a vehicle tag."

"Everyday I think about why," Craig said. "I mean, why?"

It's a question Craig hasn't been able to get past. Police said it looked like a robbery, but Craig said his friend was always giving to anyone who asked.

"He was the therapist. He was the big brother, the little brother sometimes. He just offered himself completely," Craig said.

Detectives had looked at other possibilities, including revenge.

Nine months before he was murdered, Hinton had shot and seriously injured a man who'd been kicked out of his club, only to come back and start shooting.

Channel 9 was there as officers questioned Hinton, but police said the man he shot was in jail when Hinton was murdered.

The Getaway Lounge was locked tight soon after that.

When asked if he had been back inside, Craig said no.

"It's very painful to go inside and he not be there," he said.

The case and the wounds it has left with Hinton's friends are still wide open.

"We really need somebody who has some information to come forward and to start to open up and speak about what they know," Brisbon said.

If you have any information that will help solve the case, police are asking you to call their Crimestoppers line at 704-334-1600. All of the information is confidential.