On a May evening in 2011, Ann Dimes stood outside a Ninth Ward home with her 26-year-old son, Danny Joseph Roberts. Roberts had been through a bout with a kidney stone, and Dimes, a surgical technician, wanted to check on him.
Danny, a longshoreman since the age of 16 years old, had just gotten a settlement check from the BP oil spill and felt on top of the world in spite of his medical problems. His mother reminded him he needed to keep his car door locked, but he brushed her concerns off by telling her to give him a hug. Then his phone rang.
A voice on the other end of the line – one Dimes has never identified, but will never forget overhearing – asked to borrow a shirt to wear to the club. Danny told his mother he loved her and would see her the next day, so she turned around, closed the door and went inside.
Minutes later, Dimes’ own phone began ringing – Danny was dead, shot seven times in the face just blocks from where they had last hugged goodbye.
“I am not the same person,” Dimes said. “It haunts me all the time. I just can’t understand the purpose of killing him that way.”