Murder of Restaurant Owner Still Unsolved

It's been almost two and a half years since Barry Root was gunned down at his restaurant in Baton Rouge. Two and a half years, and still his killer has not been caught. But the search for that killer is still very much on the mind of his widow.

"I most definitely believe it was personal, they meant to kill Barry. We knew he received threats," said Debbie Roots.

Debbie and Barry Root were married for 20 years. Past tense, because of what happened back in early Novermber of 2002. Barry Root owned and operated a deli at the corner of Old Hammond and Sharp Road. On the evening of November 7th, he called his wife to tell her he was on his way home from the restaurant.

"She went to bed, she woke up around one o'clock that morning on the 8th and discovered he wasn't at home," said Sgt. Dennis Moran, BRPD.

Worried, she tried to call him.  "I called and called and called, and immediately knew that something was wrong."

So she got in her car and drove to the restaurant, just down the street from their house. What she found changed her life forever. She found her husband, lying on the ground.

"I realized almost immediately that he was dead. I didn't know what to do, no one would stop. I was screaming in the street, I didn't have a cell phone."

Police believe a struggle ensued outside of the restaurant.  Barry was killed with his own gun, taken from him during that struggle. A few shots were fired, one of them striking Barry in the back of the head.

Debbie says he had the gun because of those threats someone was calling in. The source of those threats, or their validity, still haven't been determined.

Which brings us back to where we started.  Debbie does not believe this was some random robbery.  She believes Barry knew his killer and someone out there knows much more than they are saying.

"I really wish someone would prove me wrong about all my feelings and suspicions," she says.  "It would make me so happy. Someone to say, 'Debbie, everything you've been thinking, is wrong. It was that crazy random guy.' "

Barry left behind a loving wife and a daughter, after whom he named his restaurant. He would have turned 51 on March 1st. Instead, someone put a gun to his head and took everything away from him.

In an odd twist of fate, the restaurant was torn down the day after 9 News went out there to do this story. If you think you can help Baton Rouge police, call Crime Stoppers at 344-STOP. You can remain anonymous and you may be eligible for a reward of up to 1,000 dollars.

Reporter:  Matt Williams