LAFAYETTE, LA — Police have arrested a 35-year-old man for allegedly defacing a monument dedicated to those who perished in the 9/11 attacks.
The Lafayette Police Department arrested Salvador Perez and charged him with Criminal Damage to a Historic Building and Criminal Trespassing. He was booked into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center.
Perez has several prior arrests, including one from earlier this year, and three from 2012. The charges include Disturbing the Peace by Intoxication, Resisting Arrest, OWI (first offense), and an arrest for warrants that were issued related to the prior arrests.
The investigation began at roughly 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Witnesses reported that the “9/11 Monument” had been vandalized.
The monument was placed in Parc Sans Souci on September 11, 2002. It was constructed from two 13.5 feet long beams that were recovered from the debris of the World Trade Center. They were placed in the same direction as the original towers, and each beam has a plaque noting the time each tower was struck by planes.
The base of the monument mirrors the design of the Pentagon, and the garden surrounding the memorial is founded with soil from the field in Pennsylvania where Flight 93 was forced down.
The monument serves as a tribute to the lives lost from the terrorist attack.
The artwork Perez allegedly attached to the beams included two planes crashing into the beams. There was an additional life-size cartoon rendering of George W. Bush. One had held money while the other was holding what appears to be a remote control.
A building located across the street from the monument also reported that a cartoon squirrel was located on top of its roof. They say it was pointing a gun in the direction of the monument. They also claim there were references to the New World Order and George Bush's involvement.
“It is very disappointing that someone would deface Lafayette’s 9/11 Memorial in such away as to dishonor the people and the first responders who lost their lives protecting this nation," Chief Robert Benoit, Lafayette Fire Chief, said. "This incident will not overshadow our remembrance and honoring of September 11, 2001, twelve years ago.”
Police say the investigation is ongoing.