On the second anniversary of the unsolved homicide of the daughter, the Victoria Barrios mural affords hope – Orange County Register

Just a stone’s throw from where Victoria Barrios was murdered in Santa Ana, her mother Eva stood on Saturday, August 28, surrounded by dozens of artists, musicians, community members and politicians to unveil a mural dedicated to the 18 years old.

On Monday, the second anniversary of the death of Victoria Barrios in an unexplained drive-by shoot, Eva Barrios took time off like every 30th of the month. She stays in her room on these days and separates from social media.

She sits with the memories of her kind-hearted, open-minded, spirited daughter, she said, and remembers all the things the world will miss. She will “cry well”.

“It’s my time with my baby,” said Barrios. “I’m breaking down and letting it out because I have to.”

All other days are reserved for staying strong for her family, including older daughter Valerie, 25.

  • Victoria Barrios ‘great-aunt Sara Nunez, who is holding Barrios’ cousin Ethan Diaz, gets emotional after seeing a mural of her slain niece in Santa Ana on Saturday, August 28, 2021. Two years ago, Barrios was killed in a drive by shooting and the crime remains unsolved. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register / SCNG).

  • Fernando “The Artist” Olivares battles the wind to cover his Victoria Barrios mural before its unveiling on Saturday, August 28, 2021 at the Blue Lot in Santa Ana. Barrios was killed two years ago and the crime is still unsolved. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register / SCNG).

  • Eva Barrios, the mother of Victoria Barrios, stands behind a framed picture of her daughter during a wall dedication at Blue Lot in Santa Ana on Saturday, August 28, 2021. Two years ago, Barrios was killed in a drive-by shooting and the crime is still unsolved. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register / SCNG).

  • The muralist Fernando Olivares (left) and the Mayor of Santa Ana, Vicente Sarmiento, unveiled a mural by Victoria Barrios on Saturday, August 28, 2021, on the Blue Lot in Santa Ana. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register / SCNG).

  • Fernando “The Artist” Olivares speaks during the unveiling of the mural of the shot victim Victoria Barrios at Blue Lot in Santa Ana on Saturday, August 28, 2021. The painting features a quote from the late rap artist Tupac Shakur and 15 hidden words and symbols . (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register / SCNG).

  • The wall painter Fernando Olivares (right) will unveil a work of art that he created in memory of Victoria Barrios on Saturday, August 28, 2021, in the Blue Lot in Santa Ana. Two years ago, Barrios was killed in a drive-by shooting and the crime remains unsolved. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register / SCNG).

  • Santa Ana Police Chief David Valentin has urged anyone who may know about the Victoria Barrios shooting to report during a wall unveiling in Santa Ana on Saturday, August 28, 2021. The 18-year-old was killed a drive-by two years ago and the crime is still unsolved. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Ruben Salazar, left, manager and curator of the “Blue Lot”, an open-air space for artists and musicians in downtown Santa Ana, provided the space for the mural by the artist Fernando Olivares in honor of Victoria Barrios. You are standing in front of the work of another artist. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register / SCNG).

Police officials said the shooting, in which a 17-year-old boy was also seriously injured, was gang-related. They believe someone else was the target, none of the teenagers had any gang ties. On Saturday, they renewed their request that anyone with information can contact the department.

Detectives have assured Barrios that the investigation into the shootings has not gotten cold and that it is a matter of “when” rather than “if” the case will be resolved, she said.

Barrios said she collects words that remind her of her daughter: old soul, faithful beautiful smile and wonderful laugh. She hopes that one day she will be able to line them up eloquently for a victim testimony in court if it comes to a conviction.

Meanwhile, the mural unveiling on Saturday was a reminder that despite the emptiness and feeling like the “walking dead” there are still good people in the world. “I have to focus on that,” said Barrios. “Anger can consume you.”

A billboard with a smiling Victoria Barrios in a blue graduation cap and dress looking for information about the shooting stopped Johnathan Ryan Hernandez on his train. (It is part of a campaign launched by the family of eight in the county, planning one in Carson and one in West Covina. A cash award is now up to $ 60,000.)

Hernandez, now Santa Ana city councilor, said he grew up on Raitt Street in the Artesia Pilar neighborhood, where violence is a part of life. Still, the picture haunted him.

“I thought, ‘People are shooting little girls now? Why aren’t people upset? ”Said Hernandez, then father of a 9-year-old girl. “Why isn’t it talked about?

“Our city and the elected officials don’t want to talk about it,” he said. “But it will continue to happen.”

Earlier this year, Hernandez met a friend, Felipe Guerrero, at a community event where the Barrios family had a booth that was still looking for information only to find out that Guerrero is Victoria Barrios’ grandfather. The encounter inspired him to organize the mural project.

Santa Ana artist Fernando Olivares was enlisted to create something that would remind people: “Victoria was taken from not only her family but the community as well,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez likes to quote the late rapper Tupac Shakur and refer to Barrios and his town as “roses through concrete” because society often overlooks and rejects the beauty of urban poverty, he said.

Olivares said he was immersed in Victoria’s life, studying family pictures, and learning phrases she used in creating the mural. When painting, he worked seven days into the night.

On Saturday, Olivares battled the breeze to cover his mural in a blue tarp ahead of the official unveiling.

Eva Barrios said the impatience of the weather suited her daughter, who hated waiting and standing in the heat. “Victoria didn’t like quiet surroundings,” she said.

When the 1962 song played “Oh, my Angel,” Olivares, Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento and Councilor Hernandez revealed the mural of the same smiling Victoria Barrios off the billboards, this time with a bright yellow sun in the background and 18 pink roses anchoring the ground.

“Everything in the painting has a meaning,” says Eva Barrios, who worked with the artist. “When they were little, I used to sing ‘You are my sunshine’. And the roses represent the age when she died. “

Olivares also added hidden symbols and messages, including a black crown for “Queen Victoria” and 12:12 for the time of her death. This Shakur quote is written in a script: “Long live the rose that grew out of the concrete when nobody else was interested.”

Olivares also used a quote from a childhood friend’s recently deceased father:

“A moment of anger can mean a thousand years of pain.”

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