Forensic artist draws touching tribute for fallen San Marcos officer

A Philadelphia forensic artist created this portrait for the family of fallen officer Ken Copeland. (Photo: Jonny Castro)

A Philadelphia forensic artist is working to send a touching tribute to the family of fallen San Marcos Police Officer Ken Copeland.

The police sketch artist from Philadelphia works on creating digital portraits of fallen officers from across the country. Thursday, he put on the finishing touches of a portrait of Ken Copeland.

“This is what I came up for his and I kind of put the American flag in the background,” artist Jonny Castro said over video chat Thursday.

Castro said it takes him about eight hours to finish a portrait. He creates them by using a photo and recreating it by hand on a touch screen computer.

“Basically it’s a setup that’s kind of connected to a laptop and you just kind of draw the portrait as you go,” Castro said.

Castro works to get all the minute details including Copeland’s badge and uniform.

“I like doing it for the families,” Castro said.

“That was incredible,” Copeland’s cousin Mary Walberg said after seeing the portrait. “Very touching, very moving. What a kind thing for him to do.”

Walberg said it’s emotional seeing the portrait after a tough week.

“We’re still in shock, how could something like this happen to such a wonderful man,” Walberg said.

However, she says having this portrait helps. Plus she says Copeland’s wife and kids will love it.

“They’ll be moved to tears. It’ll be an emotional experience for them. But they’ll love it, they’ll love it,” Walberg said.

While it’s a touching tribute, Walberg said it’s also tough hearing how many portraits Castro has done. He says he’s drawn 78 just in 2017. Nine of those were in Texas.

He says he doesn’t even have time to draw all the officers killed.

“I can’t get to them all, I really wish I could though,” Castro said.

Castro said he started the portraits in 2016 after Philadelphia police lost an officer. Since then he’s drawn 147 total portraits including members of the military, firefighters and seven civilians as well.

“I like printing them, I like shipping them and I like to get those responses for them that they actually got it. I mean it means a lot to me,” Castro said.

He’s currently in a rush, working to draw 11 portraits to send out to mothers of fallen officers for the holidays.

He plans to send Copeland’s portrait on Friday.

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