New York father uses balloons to seek justice for his son’s unsolved murder

BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) — Twenty-two people have been murdered in the City of Buffalo since July. So far, 18 of those cases are still unsolved.

One of those unsolved cases include: 21-year-old Laron Watkins, who was murdered at Buffalo’s Sperry Park more than 2 months ago.

On Tuesday night, friends and family gathered at the park to not only remember Watkins, they hoped to find some answers.

The group released more than a thousand balloons, each with an attached message.

Murray Holman, the Executive Director of the Stop the Violence Coalition, said “The message that’s on the balloon will have a number that when they fall down, somebody might pick that number up, and call in a homicide or a murder or anything the city has, it has the Buffalo Police Department tip-line number on it.”

21-year-old Laron Watkins was killed on August 4th at Buffalo’s Sperry Park, right off Sherman Street. The early morning shooting remains under investigation.

“He would have been 22 years old today.”, said Larry Watkins, Laron’s father. “He got along with everybody, so when that happened it took everybody by storm. People couldn’t believe it. ‘No, not Laron, not Laron.’ Yeah Laron,  that happened to Laron.”

Larry Watkins said he wanted to get the word out about his son, and other unsolved murders in the city. He thought about using a billboard to help get tips or information, but he found a better idea from the sky.

“For some strange reason, a balloon fell out of the sky and hit me on the shoulder, and I thought about it, you know what, that’s a good idea.”

“Every year on October the 11th, I will be out here and each year I hope to get bigger and bigger and bigger if his murder is unsolved,” said Watkins. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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