Friends mourn the death of well-known KC tattoo artist

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Friends say Russel James Fisk never met a stranger.

“His smile, everything. His jokes, he was really quick on his jokes, making people laugh, making you just feel like you were part of the family or a good friend,” Ryan Dugger said.

Many were beside themselves to learn he had been shot to death on Friday night.

“At first I didn't believe it because I was like, 'what? Russell? The nice guy that's making all his dreams and everything come true?'” Dugger said.

Dugger said he met Fisk about six years ago and instantly became a fan of his work.

“I had seen his work and was just blown away by it. He had a different take on certain aspects of tattooing, and not to mention he had a drive that was insane,” Dugger said.

He backed that work up, friends say, with a stellar personality.

“It weighs heavy, that somebody is just -- It's always hard when the nice people, the really nice genuine people, that this happens to them,” Dugger said.

There's a small memorial for Russel near Northwest Barry Road and Marston, which is where police found him dead inside his car after it ran off the road and struck a pole.

Another shooting took place that night in the Northland that injured two people. Detectives said they do believe those shootings are connected.

“We didn't just lose a friend; we lost a family member. It's been tough,” Maria Paez said.

Maria and Mike are Russel's neighbors.

“I saw him everyday and me and him hung out Wednesday and Thursday night. We both went out,” Mike Aurich explained.

Mike said Fisk moved here about a year ago and they instantly became good friends.

“One of a kind, a giver, always helped people, always there,” Aurich said.

The friend they lost will forever live on through his artwork.

“This is his mark, literally, and it's going to stay with me for until God knows when, until we see him again,” Paez said. "In a different life."

Now his neighbors, along with many others mourn the loss of a well known member of the community and are demanding answers.

“I just hope someone knows something, please come forward. That's all we want. We want answers and I know his mother and his family wants justice,” Paez said.

Kansas City police have no suspects in custody at this time. They’ve gotten five tips on this case so far. Anyone with information should call the tips hotline at (816) 474 -TIPS.

KC rapper Tech N9ne posted his condolences with a photo of himself and Fisk on Instagram.

His art can be seen on his Instagram page.