Police identify man who vandalized Vietnam War Memorial in Dorchester

Police identify man who vandalized Vietnam War Memorial in Dorchester

BOSTON — Massachusetts State Police have identified the man who vandalized a local Vietnam War memorial.

On Saturday, State Police took the 33-year-old Dorchester resident into custody for destructing the Vietnam War Memorial in Dorchester located on Morrissey Blvd. Police believe the vandalism happened early Thursday afternoon.

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After the suspect was interviewed by police, the man was sent to a Boston hospital for mental health evaluation and treatment. His name is not being released at this time.

Officials say several dozen recent plantings of shrubs and flowers were torn out of the ground, flags were ripped down and thrown into a wooded area, and hate-related graffiti - including a swastika - were written on the stone monuments.

Among those upset over the vandalism is Tom Cunningham, whose brother Robert J. Cunningham, is one of 80 local men killed in Vietnam and remembered at this memorial.

"Now it seems like you gotta camp out here to make sure people aren't going to destroy it," said Cunningham.

This same memorial was vandalized back in October. Then, police say bricks were thrown at the stone and flags were ripped.

After that incident, UMass Boston, which owns and maintains the memorial, installed a security camera at the site.

That security camera was able to pick up the person responsible for Thursday's incident.

Below is a statement from UMass Boston Interim Chancellor Katherine Newman:

“We are relieved to know that this incident has been resolved and thank both the State Police and our own UMass Boston officers for their efforts in this investigation “ noted Interim Chancellor Katherine Newman. “As Memorial Day approaches, and we gather to remember the sacrifices of veterans and their families, I hope this will restore some peace of mind.”  

Other memorials in the city have been vandalized recently. In March, vandals hit the World War II Memorial in South Boston, as well as churches in Dorchester and Hyde Park.