Witness describes moments before artist murdered in West Oakland

WEST OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Police are continuing to search for a gunman who killed a 27-year-old Oakland artist on Tuesday morning. Antonio Ramos died while working on a mural designed to promote non-violence in the community.

Less than 24 hours after one of their own was gunned down while painting a mural that symbolizes peace, fellow artists, friends, and family of Ramos returned to pay tribute to him.

"There are people that want to take from other things in order to make themselves whole, and so Tony experienced that," said Oakland Unified School District Board of Education Director Jumoke Hinton Hodge.

The shooting happened at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

"He donated his time, his energy, his talent," said Javier Rocabado.

Rocabado is the lead artist for the mural project. He was right above Ramos on scaffolding, when the shooting happened. According to Rocabado, there was no argument, just a few words exchanged between Ramos and the suspect.

"Antonio never raised his voice," he said. "There was no altercation, there was nothing like that. It was just a guy, crazy, walking through here. He probably stole something or did something to the mural and Antonio was asking why did you do that?"

His friends say it would be just like Ramos to try to talk to a passerby, not confront him with anger.

"For his generation, you know, he spoke to a lot of people out here, people with different backgrounds," said family friend Patrick Jackson. "Now, it's unfortunate he has to live through his art."

VIDEO: Oakland artist murdered while working on mural honored at vigil

And though they plan to take a few days off, the artists pledge to make sure that Ramos' art does live on by finishing what he started.

ArtEsteem is raising funds to complete the remaining murals through an Indiegogo campaign.

Click here to donate to the Oakland Superheroes Mural Project Indiegogo campaign.

Click here to make a donation to help Ramos' family with funeral costs.

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