FALL RIVER (CBS) – The Iwo Jima Memorial in Fall River’s Veterans Park was defaced by two vandals with a fire extinguisher early Saturday morning.

“Saturday morning they came over here, climbed up with a fire extinguisher and emptied it all on the side of the monument,” said Bruce Aldrich, the Commandant of the Marine League Lance Corporal John J. VanGyzen Detachment 1258, a veterans group that maintains the memorial.

The Iwo Jima Memorial defaced in Fall River’s Veterans Park (WBZ-TV)

This is the fourth time in three years the memorial in Fall River’s Veterans Park has been vandalized.  But it is the first time surveillance cameras have caught what happened.

The cameras show two people approaching the statue carrying a fire extinguisher and then they spray the memorial enveloping it in chemical smoke.

The two people that approached the memorial early Saturday Morning (WBZ-TV)

Investigators also have another clue.

“They found the fire extinguisher. So we’re hoping they can get some fingerprints off it.  We don’t know for sure, but we’re hoping,” Aldrich said.

The Iwo Jima Memorial still covered in chemical residue from the fire extinguisher (WBZ-TV)

The Fall River Fire Department rinsed off as much of the chemical residue as they could, but you can still see the white powder on the statues.

“All the residue is running down the face of the black granite here, so we’ll have to clean this black granite up, also,” Aldrich added.

Residue running down the black granite base of the memorial (WBZ-TV)

The memorial depicts the flag raising during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.

For Aldrich, that is why the vandalism haunts him.

“Why would you do something that means so much too so many people?  Why would you deface it?  It represents so much to the Marine Corp, not just me, but every Marine veteran.”

Three years ago, someone stole the flag from the monument, and last year the lights were broken and a purple heart that is part of the memorial was stolen.

The veterans group plans to power wash the memorial and is hoping for a break in the case.


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