A mural honoring local veterans in San Marcos, Texas was vandalized with profanity and expletive language in opposition of the U.S.
Trey Hatt, a Coordinator for the City of San Marcos, said the graffiti was discovered by graffiti techs on July 16 and he contacted the police on July 17 to report the vandalism, which included “F–k the USA” and “Rest in power Willem Van Spronsen” spray-painted over the mural, the San Marcos Daily Record reported on Wednesday.
The city filed a police report for the vandalism on the Veterans Memorial, but there hasn’t been any information about who is responsible for the vandalism so far.
The name Willem Van Spronsen refers to a man who was killed by police on July 13 after attempting a terrorist attack on a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) center in Tacoma, Washington. Van Spronsen was armed with a rifle and incendiary throwing devices when he launched his attack on the facility, Fox News reported last month.
ICE employees said Van Spronsen was throwing the incendiary devices and setting vehicles on fire. The first officers on the scene reported that he was wearing a sachet and carrying flares. Van Spronsen died of multiple gunshot wounds while he was attempting to ignite a propane tank.
Van Spronsen was affiliated with “Antifa,” a loose collection of left-wing anarchists who hold, among other positions, anti-veteran views.
“We certainly hate to see any graffiti anywhere in the city,” said Hatt. “The mural itself has a very positive, pro-veteran, support the military message. In fact, there’s names of veterans from Hays County who have died in combat on it.”
“Personally, it’s kind of heartbreaking to see such destruction, such damage placed on a piece of public art,” Hatt said.
Ryan Runcie painted the mural in 2016 and was commissioned by the City of San Marcos to honor local and national veterans.
Hatt said the city “looked into possibly just spraying it off ourselves, but it was determined early on that it would just probably cause more damage to the mural if we tried to fix it ourselves than get the artist to come back.”
Artists are contractually obligated to return to the mural for five years for any maintenance or repairs that are needed, under the Mutual Arts Program.
“It’s not a matter of trying to find the artists or track them down,” Hatt said. “When the artist takes on a project like this, he or she knows going in that they need to be able to be contacted in case something like this happens.”
It cost $25,000 to create the Veterans Memorial mural and was paid with taxes collected from hotel occupancy from 2016. The city is waiting for Runcie to give them a quote on how much it could cost to repair the damage.