With Memorial Day looming, many are gearing up to honor and celebrate our nation’s veterans on the national holiday. One 34-year-old man from Illinois, however, decided to bring awareness to veterans in a very distasteful way.
Over the weekend, the disgruntled man decided to visit a cemetery in Glen Carbon. The cemetery, Sunset Hill, is well-known for housing the remains of several dignified veterans. Over 1,300 war heroes are buried there. The spot is expected to host a Memorial Day event this coming Monday.
While visiting, the suspect allegedly used spray paint to vandalize several headstones in the area. He painted unsettling swastikas across an estimated 200 of the gravestones. The Edwardsville Police Department confirmed that at least nine neighboring homes were also vandalized with the disturbing swastikas.
Authorities have determined that the vandalism occurred between midnight and 7 A.M. on May 26th. One of the vandalized homes captured the suspect on a surveillance camera and turned the evidence over to police. The police released the tapes on social media, and later identified a potential suspect.
They have taken the suspect into custody but have not yet charged him with any crime. It is expected that the police department will consider this specific form of vandalism as institutional vandalism. If they decide to pursue maximum penalties, then they may decide to charge the individual with a hate crime.
Mark Johnson, Sunset Hill Cemetery’s grounds superintendent, told news journalists he hasn’t seen anything of such magnitude in the last 30 years. Officials are working to scrub away the swastikas before the Memorial Day celebration.