Artis­tic tribute to po­lice

Paint­ings honor fallen of­fi­cer, whole force

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - MORNING BRIEFING - By Rio La­can­lale Las Ve­gas Re­view-journal

Ron Moore Jr. left Ohio on Mon­day morn­ing for his flight to Las Ve­gas with noth­ing more than three blackand-white por­traits and a gold-plated plaque in his carry-on.

In his bag were the smil­ing faces of Metropoli­tan Po­lice De­part­ment of­fi­cer Charleston Hart­field, lo­cal se­cu­rity guard Erick Silva and Hunt­ing­ton Beach, Cal­i­for­nia-based makeup artist An­drea Castilla — the last of the 58 vic­tim por­traits he had drawn.

Though he was more than 2,000 miles away, Moore said he re­al­ized within hours what he needed to do af­ter the deadly Oct. 1 Route 91 Har­vest fes­ti­val shoot­ing. Over 25 days, the Ohio-based artist ded­i­cated nearly 175 hours to draw­ing por­traits of the vic­tims killed.

What Moore de­scribes as his call­ing to bless the 58 fam­i­lies be­gan in 2004, when he was di­ag­nosed with Parkin­son’s dis­ease. The symp­toms pro­gressed quickly, he re­called, and his tremors pre­vented him from draw­ing or paint­ing for nearly eight years.

De­feated and de­pressed, he said he knelt to pray.

“If you give me the abil­ity to draw again, I prom­ise to use my tal­ent to bless oth­ers,” he re­called plead­ing with God.

Moore, who lives in Austin­town, about 70 miles south­east of Cleve­land, started draw­ing again in 2012 af­ter un­der­go­ing deep brain stim­u­la­tion, a sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure used to treat a va­ri­ety of dis­abling neu­ro­log­i­cal symp­toms. But it wasn’t un­til af­ter the Las Ve­gas shoot­ing, Moore said, that he truly be­lieved he was fol­low­ing through on his prom­ise to God.

On Tues­day morn­ing at Metro’s head­quar­ters, more than a month af­ter the at­tack, Moore proudly shook hands with Deputy Chief John Mcgrath, who ac­cepted Hart­field’s por­trait on the Po­lice De­part­ment’s be­half. As Mcgrath thanked Moore, a large bald ea­gle soar­ing in the night sky looked over the two from a paint­ing above.

An added sur­prise to the Las Ve­gas po­lice from Moore, the large acrylic paint­ing of the ea­gle had ar­rived at the head­quar­ters on Martin Luther King Boule­vard days be­fore Moore and Mcgrath were sched­uled to meet. On Tues­day morn­ing, the artist added the fi­nal touch to his gift: a gold plaque with the art­work’s ti­tle, “Fly­ing Through The Storm.”

“I be­lieve you of­fi­cers don’t just run from prob­lems, like an ea­gle, you fly right into the storm and take care of busi­ness no mat­ter how dan­ger­ous it is,” Moore said to Mcgrath, look­ing over at the paint­ing that had taken him nearly 30 hours to com­plete.

While paint­ing, Moore said he turned off his brain stim­u­la­tors to paint the tex­ture of the ea­gle’s wings. This de­ci­sion, he said, mar­ried his bat­tle against Parkin­son’s with the bat­tles fought by the de­part­ment on the night of Oct. 1.

“On be­half of the de­part­ment, we ap­pre­ci­ate all the hard work you did,” Mcgrath said. “Our of­fi­cers did charge in that night to do what they had to do. We ap­pre­ci­ate all the time you put into this and com­ing all the way from Ohio to ded­i­cate this to us.”

Metro spokesman Jay Rivera con­firmed the paint­ing and Hart­field’s por­trait will re­main on dis­play in­side the Las Ve­gas po­lice head­quar­ters’ main lobby.

“It’s touch­ing and re­as­sur­ing to know that peo­ple sup­port the work we do,” Rivera said of Moore’s ded­i­ca­tion to him and his col­leagues.

Con­tact Rio La­can­lale at rla­can­lale@re­viewjour­ or 702-383-0381. Fol­low @ri­o­la­can­lale on Twit­ter.

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