VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Controversy sparked at the Oceanfront this week when someone painted over a popular mural honoring fallen police officers.
For nearly 10 years, the mural depicting a German Shepard laying next to a fallen officer’s hat has graced the side of a souvenir shop at 21st Street and Atlantic Avenue. The mural called “Loss of a friend” was painted by Todd Lindbergh and his brother Eric of T.A.L.E.N.T Murals.
“It was a mural to pay tribute to all the unsung heroes,” Lindbergh said. “Police go and work everyday and risk their lives.”
As mural artists, Lindbergh and his brother have painted some of the resort city’s most popular images: “It’s always different. It’s always something new. I’ve done close to 2,000 murals, and it’s always something different.”
After nearly 30 years of painting, there are only a few murals that are close to Lindbergh’s heart, one being ‘Loss of a friend.’
“This one right here was special,” he said. “This had a lot of meaning and heart. We didn’t charge. We gave it as a gift to our city.”
It came as a surprise to Lindbergh and several Virginia Beach locals that his work was painted over on Thursday.
“I think it is very awesome, or it was, and it’s sad it has been painted over,” said Harry Smithson.
“I think it’s a shame because it commemorates our devoted police officers,” said Ken Reardon. “It tells people what this city is all about.”
The manager of the store, who did not want to be identified, said he’s only been running the shop for three weeks. He told 10 On Your Side the building’s paint was aging so the owner told him to apply a fresh coat. The manager said he meant no harm by painting over the mural and even said he would consider letting Lindergh paint the mural again.
But, it seems the manager is a little too late. Lindergh has already been given an offer to paint the mural on another Oceanfront building.
“It will be back,” Lindbergh said.”It will be back.”