Sep 11, 2013 4:55 PM
A Lafayette man is in jail this afternoon, charged with attaching images of two airplanes to the Lafayette 9/11 Memorial.
Lafayette Police have arrested Salvador Perez, 35, of Lafayette and charged him with criminal damage to a historic building and criminal trespassing. He faces fines of up to $1,000 and as much as two years in jail on the criminal damage charge.
According to police, Perez placed two cardboard cutout images of crashing planes -- and a nearby cutout of former Pres. George Bush holding what appears to be a wad of cash and a remote control unit -- at the memorial.
Police say an analysis of the scene -- along with the style the artist used in drawing the pieces attached to the memorial -- led them to Perez.
The 3D graffiti was apparently placed at the monument overnight.
The stabilizers on the planes include apparent references -- the Eye of Providence and the initials "NWO" -- to the New World Order conspiracy theory. For some, this theory includes the belief that the 9-11 attacks were carried out by the United States Government.
The Lafayette 9-11 monument is a 1-by-100 scale representation of both the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It includes three beams from the World Trade Center, limestone from the Pentagon, and soil from the Shanksville, Pennsylvania, field in which Flight 93 crashed.
Lafayette Fire Department Chief Robert Benoit has released a response to the vandalism discovered at the 9/11 Memorial in Parc Sans Souci, across the street from the central fire station in downtown Lafayette.
"It is very disappointing that someone would deface Lafayette's 9/11 Memorial in such a way as to dishonor the people and the first responders who lost their lives protecting this nation," Benoit said in a press release. "This incident will not overshadow our remembrance and honoring of September 11, 2001, 12 years ago. We encourage the public to help the police department locate the individual(s) responsible for this act."
The monument was dedicated on September 11, 2002--the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to call Lafayette Police or Crime Stoppers at 232-TIPS.