The reward in the case stands at $55,000.
Ronald Harnish, 22, had just been accepted for SEAL training when he and a couple of Navy buddies drove through Golden Hill on the evening of Dec. 27, 2006. They wound up in a sidewalk confrontation with two men, one of whom fatally shot Harnish and wounded another sailor.
"We know somebody has to know what happened, and I think this $50,000 reward may be enough," CrimeStoppers' executive director, Sally Cox, said in an interview Monday. "I think there's probably a legitimate fear of retaliation in this case, so we can protect someone's anonymity."
According to neighborhood residents who requested anonymity Monday, the sailors had stopped their car after seeing the suspects spray-painting gang graffiti on walls and fences in the 1100 block of 30th Street .
"His mother thinks [Harnish] was somebody who could talk to anybody and [that] he got out to have a conversation with somebody that he probably shouldn't have," Cox said.
The investigation apparently has met with unfounded leads, if not outright silence, regarding the shooter.
"How can we be a safe community if someone can get away with that?" Cox wondered. "We want to make sure that San Diego embraces its Navy people."
Billboards posted in the neighborhood advertising CrimeStoppers' reward offer hasn't loosened anybody's tongue.
Harnish's mother, Tracy Wild, has made public appeals to those who may have information that could lead to whoever killed her son. As she said during a vigil at the scene in January: "I would ask those people to stand up for Ron, because Ron was willing to put his life on the line for America, for all of us to be safe here."
Harnish, a storekeeper aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Nimitz, had been what Wild described as a star wrestler and football player, with a wide circle of friends at Lakewood High School in Los Angeles County.
Cox said the $55,000 reward is one of the largest that CrimeStoppers has offered. Five thousand dollars will be paid for information leading to an arrest. Fifty-thousand dollars, grant money from the governor's office, is available upon a suspect's conviction.