Police in Somerville, Massachusetts, are searching for a person of interest who was seen urinating on American flags at the city’s World War II memorial on Monday.
A witness, outraged by what he saw, described the despicable act in a Facebook post that went viral later that day. George Gatteny wrote that he was driving by the Somerville Veterans Memorial Cemetery when he saw two individuals in their early- to mid-twenties grab three or four mini flags that were placed in front of a statue. He vividly described what happened next:
“The guy took the flags and tossed them behind the statue,” Gatteny wrote. “What I saw him do next pushed me to a point where I said to myself ‘ENOUGH.’ The guy started urinating on the flags. I quickly pulled over, got out of my car and headed over to them. The girl was standing by the gate (she must have been the look out). I started yelling at them to stop, asking him as I approached ‘what the hell he was doing.’ He stopped urinating, pulled up his pants and started walking out of the memorial. Both of them walked up Broadway laughing.”
“I walked behind them for awhile telling everyone I pass what they did,” he continued. “I went back to the memorial to see what damage was done (see photo). An older gentleman came over and thanked me for taking a stand. He told me he has 2 friends buried there. Still outraged, I felt I needed to do more. So I got back in my car and drove up Broadway (toward Tele Sq) to see if I could find them. I wanted photos of them. I saw them walking up Broadway. I pull over across the street and waited for them to catch up. They were across the street and I snapped a few photos from my car (see attached photos). What possible reason could they have for desecrating a WW2 Memorial?? There are consequences for our actions. They probably thought no would do anything. They were WRONG!”
“We are aware of the Facebook posting and have opened an investigation into the matter,’’ Somerville Police Deputy Chief James Stanford wrote Tuesday. “This is an active and ongoing investigation and no further information is available at this time.”
Gatteny told CBS Boston that he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He added that after he angrily confronted the vandal, “he had a smirk on his face,” as if to say there was nothing he could do about it.
Gatteny, of course, did do something about it by following the man, taking some clear photos, and giving them to the police. “They are all over this,” he noted in his Facebook post.