Police identify suspect accused of vandalizing Dorchester Vietnam Veterans Memorial

BOSTON (WHDH) - Police have identified the Dorchester man they say vandalized the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Dorchester earlier this week.

Police say the 33-year-old man, whose name has not been released, was taken into custody without incident Saturday morning and sent to a Boston hospital for a mental health evaluation.

If he is released from the hospital, he will be arraigned on a charge of malicious destruction of property.

If he is hospitalized for treatment, he will face the charge at a later date.

Gov. Charlie Baker laid a wreath at the memorial shortly after the suspect’s arrest.

“I must say I am incredibly impressed with the job that the friends of this memorial have done to clean up the mess from a few days ago,” Baker said.

Officials say the man had a prior default warrant for larceny of an American flag and a state flag from the UMass campus.

In a statement, UMass-Boston interim Chancellor Katherine Newman said, “We are relieved to know that this incident has been resolved and thank both the State Police and our own UMass Boston officers for their efforts in this investigation. As Memorial Day approaches, and we gather to remember the sacrifices of veterans and their families, I hope this will restore some peace of mind.”

Troopers and UMass-Boston police responded to the memorial on Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester on Thursday and found several hateful messages, along with a swastika, written in black graffiti on the memorial’s stone pillars.

Several plants were also ripped from the ground and flags were either destroyed or thrown into the water, state police said.

Denise King comes from a big military family. her nephew James served in the Army until he was killed in 2007.

She says she is happy the man accused of desecrating the memorial has been caught.

“It had to be a crazy person,” King said, “Who would do that to veterans? People who gave their life for the country. Who would do that?”

The historic memorial features the names of 80 servicemen from Dorchester who were killed during the Vietnam War.

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