POMPANO BEACH (CBSMiami) – Russ Walker was “that” guy, he had it all, he was part of a big Italian family, had a great girlfriend, he lived for adventure. He was a pilot for American Airlines and those who knew him recall that million dollar smile that lit up a room.
“He was a doll, he was just a dream,” said his cousin Jennifer Shumway. “He was all about living life. There were no dark clouds over Russ.”
On a January day in 2011, however, that perfect life came to a tragic, violent end. When no one heard from Russ, his family grew worried. Shumway went to his canal-front home in Pompano Beach to look for him.
“We went right up and knocked on the door…no one answered,” she recalled. “I’m like, ‘the door’s open, I’m going in.’ And 911, thankfully, stopped me,’” Shumway recalled. “The police arrived and said, ‘bad news.’”
Russ was gunned down at his front door.
“As soon as that door was open…” explained BSO Homicide Detective Efrain Torres, “…that’s when the murder occurred. He was shot multiple times at the front door.”
Det. Torres believes Russ was murdered possibly a week or more before his cousin found him. Robbery was not the motive – nothing was missing.
“I believe he was targeted,” said Det. Torres, “For somebody to target him specifically, that’s the mystery in this whole case.”
Investigators checked to see if the crime was connected to a American Airlines co-worker’s murder; that did not pan out.
They described him as a boy scout, squeaky clean.
“When you check into his background what did you find?” asked CBS4’s Ted Scouten.
“Nothing! Absolutely nothing!” replied Torres.
Russ’ friends and family have a hard time believing someone could have specifically targeted him for murder.
“It’s just a blank!” said friend Ed Odisho. “It’s just a blank. Everybody’s dumbfounded.”
“Russ did nothing to deserve this,” said Shumway. “There’s nothing in his background, he’s just a beautiful person inside and out and he left a huge hole in so many people’s hearts.”
If you have information that can help investigators call Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS (8477).