BROOKLYN — Friends and family want to make sure the memory of Tanaya Copeland is never forgotten in East New York.
The 18-year-old nursing student who police believe was stabbed to death last month by Daniel St. Hubert, a ex-con with a history of mental problems, has been immortalized in a 25-foot-wide mural in the neighborhood.
The art piece shows Copeland wearing a purple uniform from her beloved Royal Knights marching band on a wall on Linden Boulevard and Cleveland Street.
“It touched everyone,” band leader Osie Smith said about the ceremony where the Knights played “Missing You” in Tanaya’s honor. “This gave them a second chance [to mourn]. Some of them missed the funeral.”
Brooklyn hip-hop artist and activist Ty Black helped organize creation of the mural, enlisting graffiti artist Louis Rivera and the SIC Crew to paint it Monday afternoon during a ceremony marking the one-month anniversary of her death.
Investigators believed Copeland may have been St. Hubert’s first victim during a violent spree in which he allegedly stabbed 6-year-old Prince Joshua “P.J.” Avitto to death and critically injured Mikayla Capers, 7, inside an East New York elevator.
Copeland was attacked on a desolate stretch of Stanley Avenue while walking to meet up with marching band members.
Hubert, 27, who was released from prison in mid-May after serving five years for assaulting his mother, was charged in Avitto's death, but not in Copeland’s. He is also suspected of stabbing Kyle Moore on a Chelsea subway platform. Moore was was taken to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition.
Black said she hopes the mural keeps pressure on investigators to solve Copeland's murder.
“One whole month without getting any update on her case, or even getting honest assurance that it’s really being worked on,” Black said. “Instead of sitting back and waiting on the police, myself and the Royal Knights will continuously serve the people.”