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A stunning tribute to Capital Gazette victims

Posted: 2:11 PM, Jul 09, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-10 10:34:05-04

People across Maryland continue to think of new ways to honor the five people killed during the Capital Gazette shooting, and one Baltimore artist is taking his tribute to the streets. 

"To watch him breathe life into these pictures is really something special," Cyd Wolf, the co-owner of Germano's Piattini, said. 

Walking in Little Italy, you will notice there is nothing little about Michael Kirby's way of paying respects to those killed. Five larger than life sketches made with chalk showcase Rebecca Smith, Wendi Winters, John McNamara, Gerald Fischman, and Rob Hiaasen. 

"I had to do something. This is what I do," Kirby said. "I do it because I think it will help."

He didn't know them but felt compelled to do something because he believes very deeply in the freedom of speech. 

"When the newspaper got attacked, whoever did it told the newspaper to shut up and you can’t. Even if it’s a bad story, it doesn’t matter, you gotta be able say to whatever you want, whenever you want," Kirby said.

It's a world he hopes for, and it hits home. His 11-year-old daughter is an aspiring writer. 

"You never know, she could have been in there. It could be 5 years from now or 10 years from now and she’s in a newsroom," Kirby said. 

His work is capturing hearts. Crowds gather to watch and pause to relfect. 

"This is such a special thing he is doing. I’m just really touched," one passerby said. "I think that it’s important for us to remember these people."

"I just think it’s an amazing memorial to these people that he’s doing this and what a wonderful heart for them and their families," another passerby said. 

Rebecca Smith and Gerald Fischman's portraits are complete, Wendi Winters' will by done on Monday, and Kirby says he still needs to touch up the portrait of Rob Hiaasen and finish John McNamara's. He hopes to be done by the middle of the week.  

If you want to see these chalk portraits in person, head to South High Street and Fawn Street in Little Italy. But you need to hurry, the chalk is not permanent and will probably wash away the next time it rains. 

Click below to see more pictures of this larger than life artwork: