In a matter of minutes, an exchange of words outside a West Nashville restaurant turned deadly for 36-year-old Robert Saine Junior.
“There really was no reason for them to kill him,” his mother, Brenda Jarrett, said. “They just took somebody’s life.”
Now, five years later, Jarrett has spent another one of her son’s birthdays without answers.
“It was like it was the end of my world,” Jarrett said. “I broke down this morning because I have a lot of pictures on the wall of him. The worst thing in the world is to lose a child.”
On Labor Day Weekend of 2016, Saine and a female friend went to a Waffle House on White Bridge Pike.
“She went in to order the food, and when she came back out, there were some like four boys. They were like messing with her, when she came out, and my son saw it,” Jarrett said.
Saine stepped in on the her behalf when police said he got into an argument with three to four men. Surveillance footage showed several shots ring out, one hitting Saine in the chest, and a Blue Kia Rio and a Silver Nissan Altima speeding away.
To this day, police are still looking for the people in those two cars.
“It’s just like it’s just beginning because… they don’t have nothing,” Jarrett said. “It hurts because I feel like while it’s taking so long. I feel like I’m not even going to be around to find out who really killed him.”
Detectives have spoken with News 2 over the years about the case, which they believe can be solved, as long as someone with tips comes forward.
UNSOLVED TENNESSEE: Find more of the state’s cold cases, missing persons, and other mysteries →
Saine was eight days away from his 37th birthday. His mother visited Saine’s grave once again this year for what would have been his 42nd birthday.
“It was hard. I just told him I loved him, and I told him happy birthday,” Jarrett said.