To his friends around Morgan Street NW, Walter H. Robinson was "The Count," his sister said yesterday, a tall thin man who liked to dress well and looked much younger than his 48 years.
Early Saturday morning he was wearing a fur coat, Elsie Davis continued, as he walked home with a friend around 1:40 a.m.
On New Jersey Avenue, NW, a block from Dunbar High School and about 100 yards from his front door, Robinson was stopped by two men who jumped out of a car, police said. One pointed a gun, they said, and demanded money.
The friend turned over a wallet, police said, but Robinson refused. "Get out of my face, punks," is what the friend told me he said," Robinson's sister said.
According to police, the man with the gun then shot Robinson several times in the chest, and the robbers fled in the car, which had several other people inside it.
Robinson died less than an hour later at Howard University Hospital, police said. There was 10 cents in his pocket, his sister said, and a bullet hole in the fur coat.
"My brother had a lot of friends," Davis recalled."He was a comic. He liked to cut up. He liked to dance. He was a lover of women, and he would make people happy.
"Maybe he was set up," she continued. "Maybe anybody who was in that place at that time would have gotton robbed. People said that car with the dudes in it was just cruising around."
Homicide detectives refused to give the name of the friend who was walking with Robinson, but said he was not a suspect in the case.
Robinson lived all his life within several blocks of the spot where he was shot. He left home two or three times, Davis said, and had been married, "but he didn't stay out long enough for his mother to miss him."
He dropped out of high school and worked for a while in the railroad yards behind Union Station, Davis said, but had not been employed since around 1970.
"His nerves were bad and he used to stay home and take care of my mother," Davis said. "Last week he was in the hospital. They let him out for Thanksgiving. Yesterday he lost his valium, and he couldn't sleep."
Robinson had six children and seven grandchildren, Davis said.
When a reporter visited his house yesterday, his mother, Dorothy, was crying softly in a first floor bedroom surrounded by relatives. She said she did not want to talk about what happened.
"I just don't know what happened to my brother," Davis said. "He had many friends and sooner or later maybe somebody will send a wire. Maybe we'll never know the truth."
Police said last night that they have made no arrests in the case.