Son of Clearwater murder victim graduates high school, police hope to solve father’s cold case

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – The family of a man gunned down in Clearwater two years ago made a plea to the public on Friday, asking anyone with information about his killing to come forward.

Justin Austin was at his home on Overlea Street when he was fatally shot in 2015.  His mother, Dolores Austin tells us she’s cried every night since.

“I’ve been suffering now for two years for this here to be over with,” said Dolores.

Dolores said the pain of not knowing who killed her son is unbearable.   “I don’t hate the person that did it because I know God is going to judge him,” said Austin.

The person who pulled the trigger has been walking free for years, and the family just can’t wrap their head around this fact.

“It’s hard, cause like I said, that was my best friend. That’s who I looked up too. He was my everything to me. It’s hard,” said the victim’s son, Justin Austin Jr.

Justin Jr. graduated from Enterprise High School on Thursday night, but the accomplishment is bittersweet.  He wishes his dad could have watched him walk down the aisle to accept his diploma, but Justin says he knows he was there in spirit.

He tells us he plans to honor his dad by going to college and getting a degree as he promised his father he would do.

“Everything I do is for him. Me walking across that stage is for him,” he said.

What the family wants now is closure.

“Somebody has to know something. It’s too big of a city to not. Everybody knows everybody around here,” said Austin Jr.

Clearwater police have continued gathering clues, hoping their renewed effort will solve the case.  Investigators say they are certain someone has the missing piece to the puzzle.

“After a little bit of time, maybe these people who have information might want to come forward and tell us what they know,” said Cpl. Thomas Dawe.  “Every time I talk to Dolores Austin, his mother, it’s tough. Her first question when I make a phone call of show up at her house is, did we arrest somebody? She’s waiting for that call, she’s waiting for that closure of us to say, hey we got him, we finally got him,” he said.

Anyone with information about this case has been asked to contact the Clearwater Police Department.

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