Artists create vibrant tribute to fallen San Benito officer

Only have a minute? Listen instead
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Just before Lt. Milton Resendez was laid to rest, he was immortalized in paint.

A tribute mural for the fallen officer, by Uriel “Conquista” Landeros and Alexander “PopC_ulture” Andro, surprised residents Wednesday outside the San Benito Public Library, on the corner of Sam Houston Boulevard and West Rose Street.

Resendez, a 27-year veteran of the department, died in the line of duty Oct. 17. His funeral services were held Thursday.

“Art, in its many forms, can be a great source of healing, comfort, and community; it is one way in which we can remember and celebrate the people who have left their mark on our lives,” said Aleida Garcia, director of the San Benito Cultural Arts Department, in a statement on its Facebook page.

“This mural is a testament to the human spirit and its capacity for empathy, and we hope that it is a beacon for the local community to gather in all times of bereavement and celebration alike. It is a privilege to be one hand amongst all those that have made this collaboration possible.”

Valley artists Uriel Landeros and Alexander Andro honor slain San Benito Officer Lt. Milton Resendez who was killed in the line of duty with a mural of at the San Benito Public Library. (Miguel Roberts | The Brownsville Herald)

Garcia said Conquita and PopC_ulture were moved to create the work, and approached her and Texas Conjunto Hall of Fame and Museum board president Patricia Avila, who was a friend of Resendez.

The process moved quickly: An easily accessible location was identified, and the portrait of the city’s hero literally appeared overnight.

“They do tend to work in that matter, where they do these pop-up murals,” Garcia said. “It’s part of that excitement, that spontaneity. People go to sleep that evening, and the next morning there’s this beautiful mural.”

During the creation process Tuesday, as the sun was setting, neighbors and passerby residents gathered to watch the artists work.

“We got to have a lot of the neighborhood folks coming out in the evening … and we amassed a nice little crowd,” Garcia said. “It was a great opportunity for me to meet folks and have them share some of their stories with us.”

The mural, a donation to the city of San Benito, will be added to the Cultural Arts Department’s permanent collection, which means Garcia’s team will maintain it. It will receive a UV coating as well as a plaque with details of its origin and the man who inspired it, she added.

“It’s one thing to put paint on a wall and another to make sure it’s taken care of,” Garcia said.