Artists return to Oakland mural to finish work after slaying

- A group of artists returned Monday to finish what they started and their fellow artist Antonio Mamos started -- a West Oakland mural to bring light to where there has been a lot of darkness.

"Everyone is still mourning and still sad. But everyone is hopeful and knows the importance of the project even more so now," said Amana Harris, executive director of the Attitudinal Healing Connection which is sponsoring the mural project.

The 27-year-old Ramos was shot to death September 30, while working on the mural on West Street near 35th Street in West Oakland. Ramos' portrait is being added to the mural in tribute.

Members of Oakland Unite and Fathers Against Drugs and violence are helping provide security along a corridor lined with candles.

Police have increased patrols.

On Monday, Oakland police also asked for the public's help in identifying a person of interest in the fatal shooting.

Police distributed a photo of the man, who is described as a black man in his 20s, approximately 6 feet tall with a thin build and a dark complexion.

Oakland police said the photo was taken from video shot by a surveillance camera near the scene of the shooting.

While a community mourns, the pain runs especially deep at West Oakland Middle School, where some of the students helped design the very mural the artists were painting.

They say they had hoped the mural would bring beauty to their neighborhood that's seen so much violence.

"If we keep making murals and clean up the streets we might have a chance to get it back to the community," said Gary Anderson Jr, an eighth grader who helped design the mural.

The mural is part of a project called Oakland Superheroes, where students could create characters or images aimed at helping the community.

"We had a lot of fun on it, we worked together," said Mi'quel Sapp, another eighth grader.

The students also seem to accept that violence in their community is somehow commonplace'

"It became so normal it doesn't hurt. This one hurt. I didn't know him but he was willing to help us," said Anderson.

"What I leaned from this experience was to keep fighting until our community is safer and better," said student Pugna Som.

The students are planning to send cards to the artists this week, thanking them for finishing the mural.

Police said Crime Stoppers of Oakland has offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest in the case.

Oakland police said people who have information about the fatal shooting should call the department's homicide section at (510) 238-3821 or Crime Stoppers of Oakland at (510) 777-8572.

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