Mural pays tribute to slain 24-year-old Indiana officer
One day before his death, Noah Shahnavaz stopped to compliment the mural’s artist, not knowing the artwork would eventually pay tribute to his ultimate sacrifice
By Sarah Calams
ELWOOD, Ind. — The community of Elwood, Indiana, continues to mourn the death of 24-year-old Officer Noah Shahnavaz, who was shot and killed during a traffic stop on July 31.
The young officer not only made an impact within his community and department, but also with those he encountered on and off duty. One of those on-duty encounters was with Theodore Winters, a pop artist and muralist, FOX59.com reported.
Winters had been hired to paint a mural of an American flag on the outside of a downtown Elwood restaurant. That’s when he first met Shahnavaz, but Winters didn’t know the officer’s name until he saw the grim news on television.
“That was my first time ever meeting him and it’s so crazy because I’m going through, watching the interviews, and everything people say about him lined up with him,” Winters recalled.
The day before his death, Shahnavaz approached Winters and complimented his work – an act of kindness Winters said turned around a rough day for him.
“He pulls over and says, ‘Nice artwork. I really like the mural,’” Winters shared.
In response, Winters told Shahnavaz that he hoped the mural showed his respect for responders. “I told him every time you drive by that mural, I want you to know that people my age care. We love you, we love your service, and thank you for serving the community. Thank you for being a police officer.”
Shahnavaz, Winters said, smiled “ear to ear,” told him that “he loved his job and was proud to be a cop,” and then drove off.
The mural, he said, has now turned into a dedication to Shahnavaz.