Police arrested a suspect who allegedly scrawled swastikas on the outside of Union Station Friday, one day after International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Swastikas and anti-Obama slogans were spray-painted on the pillars and building in Northeast about 12:45 a.m. Friday, D.C. police said. Graffiti was reported spray-painted on three buildings in Northwest that afternoon.
Geraldo Pando, 34, of no fixed address was arrested and charged. D.C. police and Amtrak police are investigating the Union Station graffiti as possibly being motivate by bias or hate, police said.
D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said the investigation would be led by the Amtrak Police, which handles security for the building.
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“It appears it may be one of our unhoused residents who did this, based on some information that has been revealed,” Contee said. “The person who did this ... could very well have some mental health challenges.”
“Amtrak strongly condemns this act of hate and will work with our landlord, USRC and their lessor to remove these symbols as quickly as possible,” Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods said in a statement.
By midday Friday, staff had begun to cover the swastikas with sheets of white paper secured by blue tape.
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D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called the incident “both shocking and unsettling.”
"This antisemitic and hateful symbol has no place in our city, and we stand united with the members of our Jewish community against antisemitism in all its forms,” she said.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington posted a statement on Instagram, calling the timing “particularly offensive” and added, “This anti-semitic and hateful symbol has no place in our society.”
It is unclear whether the connection to International Holocaust Remembrance Day was intentional. Contee said his department had been in touch with local Jewish community leaders.