Walking down Mission Street in the Excelsior on my way home, I found a billboard carrying something other than the usual corporate brands and lifestyle messages. The youth and the youth as an infant. A reward offer splashed in red.
The simple question couldn’t be more chilling – who killed Brian Marquez? I found other questions occurring to me. Was it the victims family who had purchased this billboard space? Is there some new program to get information from the community related to a homicide by plastering it on City-owned billboards?
A quick visit to the website listed on the billboard revealed that Marquez was shot and killed one September night three years ago on 24th and Alabama. Text on the site reads like a letter from the dead as Marquez addresses himself to you, the viewer, urging you to view the photos and other items on the website. Pictures from childhood, from school. The child praying becomes an adolescent ironing a hat. The child stands in a sweater vest in front of the words “the sky’s the limit.” The youth stands in a living room, stiffly clasping his hands in front of him. Most striking are Marquez’ drawings – painstaking pencil drawings of religious and barrio themes, Christs and clowns. They recall tattoo art, and further research online reveals that Marquez was a budding tattoo artist.
A message from Brian Marquez’ father urges those with information to come forward. Links to recent SF Examiner articles reveal that the City offered $100,000 rewards on 15 unsolved murder cases – 10 times the usual amount. It was announced in 2006 by Gavin Newsom, yet by years end officials were perplexed that there hadn’t been a response that had led to any significant arrests on any of the cases.
Visit the website here: www.brianmarquez.org