Joel "Buddy" Simpson was running out of time on Christmas Eve 1991.
Simpson called his mother to let her know that he still had to pick up his three children. They were all supposed to spend the night at her house in Southeast Washington and open presents the next morning.
But Simpson never made it to his mom's and he never saw another Christmas.
Simpson, 33, was shot and killed in the alley behind the home where his kids lived with their mother.
It happened about 11:30 p.m. Dec. 24, 1991, in the rear of 4013 Eighth St. SE in the Washington Highlands neighborhood.
He was shot shortly after the children's uncle asked him to come outside, police said. When the shot rang out, Simpson's 10-year-old daughter ran outside with her mother. Simpson lay dying in a pool of blood.
His death was the 484th homicide in 1991, breaking the record for most homicides in a single year in the city. The year remains the deadliest calendar year in the District's history.
Simpson's killer remains unknown, one of nearly 4,000 cold case slayings in Washington. The D.C. police cold case unit is seeking information that could help solve his killing.
At the time of the shooting, a family member said she believed Simpson's shooting was the result of a drug dispute. A homicide detective said police believe Simpson knew his killer.
Anyone with information about the shooting can contact police through the tip line at 888-919-2776 or through a text messaging number: 50-411. The D.C. police department is offering a reward of up to $25,000.