BUFFALO, NY-- Laron Watkins would have been 22 on Tuesday.
His family and friends spent most of the day blowing up balloons, but not for a party.
Their mission instead was to use the balloons to help police bring their loved one’s killer to justice.
Watkins was one of three men who were shot at Sperry Park on the city’s east side early August 4.
He died just a block from where he lived.
"We heard the gun shots ring out," recalled the victim’s father, Larry G. Watkins Jr.
“He was laying on the curb, holding his neck with his arm out…the ambulance got there, they worked on him for 20 minutes, and then they pronounced him dead.“
More than two months later, no arrests have been made.
Watkins contemplated renting a billboard with information about the murder of his son, hoping to prod someone into giving up information to help police solve the case.
That’s when he was struck by another idea, which literally came from above.
“I don’t know why, but just then a balloon fell out of the sky and hit me on my shoulder. I don’t know why, or where it came from, but I said you know what…if I do enough of them, it could rain all over the city".
On Tuesday, family and friends of the Laron Watkins returned to the park where he was shot and killed.
Each person held 21 balloons, a number emblematic of Laron's age when he died.
To each of the balloons was affixed a bookmark sized flyer, with Laron's picture, information about the homicide, and the Buffalo police tip line.
“We hope that when the balloons come down, they might end up in the hands of people with information that will lead to the conviction of the person, or persons, who killed him,” Larry Watkins said.
A total of 1,100 balloons were launched in the effort.
“If it falls out of the sky and hits the right person…I mean, someone always knows something,” Watkins said.