Stains on the heart

Artists Stephanie Freeman and Cici Artemisia color hearts over the blood stains left by last weekend’s fatal drive-by shooting in La Jolla.

Cuvier Street resident Stephanie Freeman heard the party noises, then the gunshots and the speeding vehicles. She called the police and then fell back asleep. On Sunday morning, June 23, she woke up to find blood all around her car, which the police officers were inspecting for bullet holes.

“I went to my Quaker meeting and when I came back, there was blood all the way down my street,” Freeman said. “These big dark puddles. It just bothered me.”

She called San Diego Police and was told, she said, that they’d already remediated the blood, done the biohazard work, “and there’s nothing more they can do (because) the stain is set into the cement.”

Bereft of their red pigment, the stains look like oil at first. But once you know what to look for, you can’t un-see them. The dark blotches traverse the length of Cuvier, from the alley where the shooting occurred — leaving 20-year-old San Diego resident Nina Silver dead and three young males injured — nearly to Marine Street.

Freeman and her fellow artist, Cici Artemisia, grabbed some colored chalk and started coloring them in.

“Every heart you see covers a blood stain,” Freeman said. “I didn’t do it to cover them up, I did it to acknowledge what happened. I feel like, normally, when there’s a shooting, there are flowers, candles or vigils. But there’s been nothing so far, and I am really saddened by that, and I wanted to try and use art to help grieve and feel.”

On Tuesday afternoon, June 26, Freeman and Artemisia were just west of Pearl Car Wash, finishing up their final hearts. When a car-wash employee approached, Freeman explained what they were doing, expecting opposition. Instead, the employee placed cones around them, making it safer for them to finish up.