Plymouth, MA – A statue of a police officer that stood as part of Plymouth’s 9/11 memorial for more than 15 years was toppled and severely damaged by vandals on Sunday.
The destruction came just one week after someone spray-painted Plymouth Rock and other local landmarks with red graffiti, CNN reported.
On Sunday morning, residents discovered that someone shattered lights and knocked over the police officer statue at the 9/11 memorial, breaking the statue’s head off, Plymouth Police Chief Michael Botieri told The Boston Globe.
The memorial was created by former Plymouth Selectman Richard Quintal, who took out a second mortgage to make the tribute a reality, WSTM reported.
“It’s to pay tribute to the people who lost their lives,” the 61-year-old former selectman told the news outlet in the wake of the incident.
The memorial includes granite pillars engraved with the names of 9/11 victims, as well as statues of the police officer and a fireman, and a steel beam from the World Trade Center, The Boston Globe reported.
After the memorial was established, Quintal promised the city that he would maintain it for as long as he was physically able to do so.
He checks on the monument every day, and was devastated when he learned about the recent destruction.
“At first, I was very angry, and then after I was heartbroken, naturally,” said Quintal.
The police officer statue had been destroyed once before, but the second statue had stood for over 15 years, WSTM reported.
“My father actually got me the police officer the second time,” Quintal explained, noting that his father has since passed away.
Members of the Local 1768, the union that represents Plymouth firefighters, repaired the 9/11 memorial on Monday morning and landscaped the area, The Boston Globe reported.
Quintal said they did a fantastic job, and that the memorial looks even better than it had before.
“September 11 hits home,” Local 1768 President Brian Baragwanath told The Boston Globe. “We feel that it’s important that the community and the family have this memorial, that we keep traditions going and never forget.”
The investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Chief Botieri said that the way the 9/11 memorial was vandalized differed from the type of vandalism that occurred at the other sites one week ago.
“There’s no reason at this time to believe they’re connected,” he told The Boston Globe.
The suspect in the earlier string of vandalisms has been identified as a 17-year-old male, WHDH reported.
He is expected to be charged with one count of trespassing and 11 counts of vandalism.