National Mall

Police Release Photos of Person of Interest in Memorial Vandalisms

U.S. Park Police have released surveillance footage of a man they believe may be connected to the vandalism of the World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the D.C. War Memorial and the Washington Monument over Presidents Day weekend. 

The graffiti first appeared on the Lincoln Memorial Feb. 18. 

"Somebody appears to have, with Sharpie or magic marker, tagged similar messages at the Lincoln Memorial, on the Washington Monument and at the World War II Memorial," National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said in February. 

Similar graffiti appeared on street signs and utility boxes along the National Mall, according to NPS. 

The graffiti was described as not overly political nor hate-filled. It covers a fairly small area at each of the vandalized memorials with several lines of text. 

The words are difficult to read or make sense of, but the clearest graffiti on a steel electrical box appeared to say: "Jackie shot JFK;" "blood test is a lie, leukemia, cancer HIV get a second option;" and "9/11/01 ... pilots fly planes into WTC." 


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The man in the photos released Tuesday has been named a person of interest in the case. 

Defacing a national monument or memorial is rare but not unheard of. The most significant case in recent memory was a bizarre incident in 2013, when a woman threw green paint on the Lincoln Memorial and later at the Washington National Cathedral. She was arrested but later found incompetent to stand trial.

Lincoln Memorial Vandalized

In that case, it took crews nearly a month to clear the green paint from the Lincoln Memorial, but NPS staff are skilled in the tricky removal process of graffiti removal, Litterst said. 

The staff used a pressure washer and solvent, safe for historic stone, to remove the graffiti. The Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and World War II Memorial were cleaned a few days after they were defaced.

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