Archer shooting cut short veteran's life
Published: Monday, January 14, 2013 at 9:39 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 14, 2013 at 2:00 p.m.
ARCHER — Timothy Robinson was on patrol in Afghanistan a few years ago when a soldier walking in front of him was blown up by an insurgent's bomb.
Something like that, Robinson's family said Monday, was hard to forget. The memory troubled him, so the Army brought him back home. He wanted to reclaim his life, and he was put on medication for post traumatic stress disorder. He was doing better.
All that work fell apart on Sunday night over a $100 bet between two of his friends. Deputies found him dead, and alone in the woods, with a gunshot wound to his chest.
"It's a shame he survived Afghanistan and he had to come home to this," said a neighbor, who declined to give his name. He then poured some of his beer on the ground in a gesture of remembrance to Robinson.
Stunned family and friends gathered on Monday and recalled a man they say "was the glue that kept us together, a man who loved his 14-month-old son — Timiyaun Nathaniel Robinson Jr., — like no tomorrow."
"It's going to be a tough pill to swallow," his cousin Natelle Curtis said.
For several confusing hours on Sunday night, members of multiple police agencies combed the woods around Archer for Robinson. At the time, they thought he had shot two people they found bleeding in a house at 9816 SW 162nd Terrace.
Neighbors say Robinson may have been using his Army training when he ran from the house, trying to draw the fire to him and away from the people in the house.
They say he may have saved the lives of the two victims, Wesley Boykin, 26, and Aja Newton, 24, from Gainesville, who were both in the intensive-care unit at Shands on Monday night. Boykin was struck in the abdomen and Newton was struck in the abdomen and the arm.
The alleged shooter is Brandon Scott, 22, according to deputies, a man who family say Robinson was trying to help.
According to Alachua County Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Todd Kelly, deputies responded to 911 calls saying someone had been shot.
Robinson had run about 200 yards into the woods after being shot. At one point, as searchers used K9 dogs and a helicopter to look for Robinson, a deputy reported hearing a voice in the woods calling for help.
Scott also ran from the home after the shooting. He was taken into custody at 10:41 p.m. by a deputy assigned to a perimeter position.
Kelly said the argument started at around 7 p.m., and the family said it was over a basketball game. The 911 call came in around 8 p.m.
Curtis, the cousin, explained that Scott was upset because he lost $100 to Boykins, who is Robinson's nephew. He went to Robinson's house, Curtis said, angry and with the intention of getting his money back.
The rifle used in the shooting, she said, belonged to Robinson, and Scott knew where it was. She thinks Robinson got between the shooter and his intended target.
"He basically took the bullet," Curtis said, adding that she was one of the first on the scene.
"It was just chaos," she said. "And when I heard I felt empty — like my heart had been shattered."
Family described the slain man as a good, caring person who liked to look after others.
They said Robinson was friends with Scott and helped him out. Scott was released from jail on Oct. 6 on a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest without violence, Kelly said.
Nearby neighbors said Scott's father had recently been sent to prison and Robinson wanted to support Scott.
"All he wanted to do was help that boy," Robinson's aunt, Annie Pearl Curtis, said. "He housed and fed and clothed him."
Robinson's mother, Gwendolyn, sat in her house off of SW 170 Street in Archer on Monday surrounded by family, next to a mosaic of photographs that covered a whole wall. On it, there were two pictures side by side, of Robinson as a baby and of his son.
"He looks just like him," his aunt said.
Family said Robinson attended college at St. Johns River State College and Benedict College in South Carolina, and pursued a degree in recreational sports. At one point, his mother said, "He got a little shaky" and got in trouble with the law.
But despite some troubles and recurring dark thoughts about the explosion that almost killed him, Robinson was repairing his life, family said. He loved to watch sports and have cookouts with friends.
"He was really trying to get his life together," his mother said. She also stressed that Robinson's father was supportive all through his life, even though the two parents split up.
"He was an outgoing person. He loved children and sports and he loved to cook shrimp," Curtis said. "This should not have happened to such a big-hearted person."
A funeral service for Robinson will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, at the Female Protective Temple, 12610 Northwest 39th Avenue, Gainesville.
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