Nova Scotia

Murder victim Tyler Richards memorialized in mural in Halifax neighbourhood

The mural shows Tyler Richards, holding a basketball, with his two daughters, a niece and a nephew flanking him.

Mulgrave Park mural was something 'we all wanted,' say Richards's friends

Tyler Richards, who was killed last month, had a huge presence in the tight-knit north-end Halifax neighbourhood. 1:13

As sprinkles of rain started to fall, residents of Mulgrave Park in north-end Halifax gathered to watch artists spray paint a large mural on a brick wall in an area called The Steps.

The image is of Tyler Richards. He's holding a basketball and he's flanked by his two daughters, a niece and a nephew.

This is the first memorial mural painted by The Blackbook Collective. (Elizabeth Chiu/CBC)

Richards, 29, had a huge presence in this tight-knit neighbourhood — and people are still mourning after his violent and unsolved shooting death on April 17.

'He's a father, he's an uncle — now he's not there'

"We were torn apart as friends, but they were torn apart," said 30-year-old Breena Dorey, who grew up with Richards.

"He's a father, he's an uncle — now he's not there."

Breena Dorey says the community wanted a large mural to reflect Tyler Richards's huge impact on the community. (CBC)

The Steps have always been a hangout spot, and it was only natural that it became an impromptu memorial that started with flowers.

'His legacy needs to live on'

One day, Dorey put up a poster-sized photo of Richards. The neighbours agreed that they needed something much bigger.

"His legacy needs to live on and he needs to be remembered. For me, it's just amazing to have such a vibrant piece of artwork portray who Tyler really is," said Dorey.

Marcus James, 25, says the painting is perfect — a source of comfort.

"We all wanted it. This is his community, he was the highlight," said James.

'We all loved him'

He says Richards had an enormous impact on his life.

Richards helped get James through bouts of depression and anger, and taught him lessons about being positive, kind to others and to enjoy life.

Marcus James says he looked up to Richards and considered him a brother. (CBC)

"We all loved him and he meant something to all of us," he said.

This is the first memorial mural for the Blackbook Collective, which is creating the mural.