Street Artist Shot Dead While Painting Anti-Violence Mural in Oakland
Schoolchildren were scheduled to contribute to the mural today.
A street artist was shot dead in Oakland, California while painting an anti-violence mural on Tuesday, September 29.
27-year-old Antonio Ramos was commissioned to create the mural by a community group dedicated to reducing violence and crime in the troubled city.
According to the Oakland Tribune, an altercation broke out between Ramos and the shooter after the two got into a heated argument underneath a highway underpass in West Oakland, where the artist was working.
After the shooting, the gunman fled the crime scene and is currently still at large. Police are still investigating the homicide and have not yet released a description of the suspect.
“It’s the most heart-wrenching, most senseless thing that I can imagine,” Oakland City Councilman Dan Kalb added. “My heart goes out to his family. Here are young folks trying to do something positive for the community, and this happens.”
“All they were doing was painting, trying to beautify a neighborhood that has seen its challenges,” Oakland police Lt. Roland Holmgren said.
A group of about 10 artists were working on the mural, produced by Attitudinal Healing Connection, a West Oakland group that seeks to stop violence by inspiring people with art and education. According to the mural project’s artistic director, David Burke, Ramos and the killer did not know each other. “This was totally random,” he said.
The initiative was conceived as a collaboration between local artists and schoolchildren at West Oakland middle school. A group of students was scheduled to contribute to the mural on Wednesday.
Burke said that the schoolchildren had designed the mural which Ramos was painting. Titled Self as a Superhero, the artwork was designed to inspire positive change in the neighborhood. “It’s not about the cape and the superpowers,” he said. “It’s about what our community needs—stopping violence, environmental awareness, and positivity.”
Oakland has one of the highest crime rates in the USA. Ramos’ murder was the 71st homicide in 2015; compared to 56 at this point in 2014.
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