Local Artist Honors Las Vegas Shooting Victim

Pickett and Pershing Elementary School art teacher Corey Lonjers joined the Las Vegas Portraits Project because he wanted to do his part in keeping a victim's memory alive.

Posted: Nov. 5, 2017 11:08 PM
Updated: Nov. 8, 2017 8:55 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) On October 1, 2017, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock fired multiple rounds onto a crowd of 22,000 people in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Now, just over a month after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, artists nationwide are honoring the memory of the 58 victims.

Pickett and Pershing Elementary School art teacher Corey Lonjers joined the Las Vegas Portraits Project because he wanted to do his part in keeping a victim's memory alive.

“To think that these people were out just trying to enjoy themselves and have a good time, and then someone just randomly starts opening fire," Lonjers said. "I mean, that’s a cowardly thing to do.”

Lonjers said he heard about the project after a friend commented his name in a post on Facebook. To be selected as an artist, all Lonjers had to do was send in a few examples of his work.

“I feel like this is a way to hopefully honor the victims of the event," Longers said.

The Las Vegas Portraits Project organizers send a list of biographies and photographs of the victims to selected artists, and asks them to chose the one they would like to portray.

Lonjers said he chose officer Charleston Hartfield because much like himself, Hartfield worked to educate the kids in his community.

“He was a war veteran, a police officer and a volunteer youth football coach," Lonjers said. "He really seemed to be an activist for his community.”

Harfield, 34, was an off-duty Las Vegas police officer and military veteran. 

Lonjers also agreed to paint a portrait of Hartfield's mother, Sheryl Stiles, who died two days after her son's funeral due to a heart attack and grief, according to a report by CNN.

“The project director had contacted me and asked if I would be willing to paint a portrait of his mother as well so that we can give both pieces to the family, and I said I’d be honored to," Lonjers said.

The paintings will take Lonjers about three months to complete.

All of the paintings will be dedicated to the families at a memorial service in Las Vegas on the event's one year anniversary.

“It makes you really appreciate what you have and every day and all the time that you have that you can spend with your loved ones," Lonjers said.

If you know of an artist who would like to get involved in the project, contact the group on their Facebook page.

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