Local artist paints portraits of Dollar General shooting victims, delivers them to family members

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – News4Jax is hearing from the person who painted portraits to honor the three victims of the shooting at the Dollar General store last week.

“God said draw,” said Jodesha Baldwin who is the artist behind the portraits. “I was like, ‘I am going to draw.’

I did because God told me to. When God gives you a message, you deliver. You don’t second guess it.”

It was a tough task emotionally on Sunday.

One by one, Baldwin presented the portraits she painted to the family members of those killed in last week’s racially motivated shooting at the Dollar General.

“It is more so for me to just be able to bring them home,” Baldwin said. “Even if it’s not physically, just to be able to see their faces and know that somebody thought about them, and to be able to bring their loved one home for [the families].”

Baldwin says she hopes the portraits bring closure while carrying value and meaning to the families that are grieving.

“Money comes and goes,” she said. Cards can come and go. People coming by, it comes and goes. It is more, so just a loving thing for me.”

As people drove or walked by throughout the last week, or possibly saw the posts on social media about the portraits, she just wants people to think about those who were killed.

29-year-old Jerrald Gallion was a loving and devoted father. That is how family members described him to News4Jax. He leaves behind a 4-year-old daughter.

19-year-old A.J. Laguerre just graduated from high school. His grandparents said he had dreams of becoming a professional video game streamer.

52-year-old Angela Carr was a loving and caring mother. Her family praised her as a provider. She was the first person shot while sitting in her car outside the store.

The FBI says all three were targeted by the gunman because they were Black.

It took Baldwin about four or five hours to create all of the portraits.

Then she brought them out to be on display for everyone to see on Kings Road the day after the murders.

Baldwin started painting several years ago as a way to cope with her mother’s murder when she was just 9-years-old.

“Their faces, connect with them,” Baldwin said of what she wants people to experience when they see the portraits. “Know who these people were at the time of this tragedy.”

The work of art was created for one reason.

“It is all love,” Baldwin said. “There is nothing behind it, but just love. When they cry, I cry too.”

As a community remembers three innocent victims of hate.

Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2023/09/03/local-artist-paints-portraits-of-dollar-general-shooting-victims-delivers-them-to-family-members/ Local artist paints portraits of Dollar General shooting victims, delivers them to family members

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