DALLAS, Texas -- Dave Braeger, an artist from Fox Point, Wisconsin says he often doesn't know where his paint brush will take him. This week, the same could be said about his heart.
"I did not know he was a painter. I just knew he made great tie dyes," Teresa Donaldson said.
Donaldson is an old classmate of Braeger from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. After recently reconnecting at their 25-year reunion, Braeger now makes art in their shared Dallas home.
"One thing that is so great about Dallas is it is so welcoming," Braeger said.
Braeger was in his garage painting on Thursday, July 7th when a sniper opened fire on what was a peaceful protest over the killings of two African-American men by police in Louisiana (Alton Sterling) and Minnesota (Philando Castile) in downtown Dallas. Five officers were killed. Seven others were hurt, along with two citizens.
"What is really sad for me is these officers were protecting our right to say whatever we want. Pray for those families. They need it," Braeger said.
A memorial honoring the five lives lost along with those who were injured, including Gretchen Rocha from Dodge County, Wisconsin -- who was injured by shrapnel continued to grow on Sunday, July 10th.
Among those stopping by the memorial Sunday were Dallas police officers themselves.
"I've been here 36 years and we've buried a lot of policemen in that period -- but nothing like this," Stephen Toth said.
As people shook the hands of officers and gave them hugs, Braeger finished his contribution.
"I had to get something down to the officers, and painting is what I love," Braeger said.
One of his paintings will be donated to an officer charity group. Another design will be put on T-shirts that will be sold to raise money for officers.
"These people were just doing their job, and doing it incredibly well -- to run towards bullets. Not something I would want to do. Art is in the eye of the beholder, but it's the best thing I can offer," Braeger said.
Braeger isn't a professional artist. In fact, he donates most of the money raised through his art to charity.
He said he plans to deliver his painting to "Assist the Officer Foundation" -- a group that helps with officers' expenses on Monday, July 11th.
If you'd like to learn more about Braeger's artwork or obtain a T-shirt featuring his painting, you're invited to email him at DBraeger@gmail.com.