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Investigation into Dubuque teen's killing growing cold

There have been no arrests in the year since 15-year-old Marlon Barber Jr. was shot and killed.

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Posted: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 8:58 am, Tue Oct 8, 2013.

Fifteen-year-old Marlon T. Barber Jr. was shot and killed in downtown Dubuque nearly one year ago.

There have been no suspects arrested nor charges filed, but Dubuque police say it's not for a lack of trying.

"It's definitely an active, ongoing investigation," Lt. Scott Baxter said. "We're working hard, despite the rumors out there."

Barber was shot in the chest and stomach just before midnight Oct. 20, 2012, at 21st and Jackson streets, apparently as he and friends were walking away from a party. He died of his injuries shortly after at Mercy Medical Center-Dubuque.

Another teen, Demarcus D. Timmons, was shot in the face and buttocks, but he was treated and released from UnityPoint Health-Finley Hospital two days later.

Since that incident, Dubuque police have conducted more than 70 interviews, but the case remains unsolved.

Police believe they know the people involved in the incident, but Baxter said the biggest hurdle to the investigation has been an ongoing lack of cooperation. "It hasn't changed much in the past year," he said. "There are definitely people holding pivotal information that can close this case today."

Baxter said some theories are that those involved do not want to lose respect among their friends by helping police or that someone might be too afraid to come forward.

"Two kids were shot. One died. To us, that trumps fear and peer pressure," Baxter said. "It's frustrating for us and for the families."

Lynn Sutton, City Council member and Dubuque NAACP president, agreed that those involved or that know any information should step forward and give Barber's family peace.

"This is a time to be a hero," she said. "Everyone has their reasons, but it would truly just help to bring closure."

Baxter said the police department will continue to actively pursue the investigation.

"We remain hopeful, but hope is a lot different than probable cause (for an arrest)," he said.

Barber's parents, Marlon Barber Sr. and Nate Watson, could not be reached for comment on this story.

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