WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A woman has been charged with defacing a mural and organ at the National Cathedral, Monday.
Police have arrested and charged 58-year-old Jiamei Tian in connection to the vandalism.
Tian was arrested in the area of the cathedral shortly after the paint was found, Assistant D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said. Investigators were hoping to question her about the vandalism on the Mall, including at the Lincoln Memorial, but a language barrier delayed the interrogation, Newsham said.
Earlier Monday evening, a fourth landmark, splattered with paint, was discovered at Thomas Circle.
Droplets of green paint were found on the statue of Martin Luther outside of the Luther Place Memorial Church, and white paint was splattered on the organ inside, Sunday afternoon.
U.S. Park Police are looking into a second case of vandalism on the National Mall, on the statue of Joseph Henry outside the headquarters of the Smithsonian Institution. Henry was the Smithsonian’s first secretary. Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Brooks says the vandalism on the Joseph Henry was reported on Friday, the same day that green paint was found splattered on the Lincoln Memorial.
Green paint was also found splattered in the National Cathedral’s historic Bethlehem Chapel Monday afternoon. The paint was strewn over the chapel’s organ console and casework and was discovered still wet, leaving officials to believe the vandalism had just recently occurred.
Bethlehem Chapel is the oldest portion of the Cathedral, completed in 1912. It was the site of burial rites for President Woodrow Wilson in 1924 and was the original location of his tomb for more than three decades before he was permanently interred in a memorial bay bearing his name on the Cathedral’s main level.
Brooks says it appears that something was intentionally drawn on the Joseph Henry statue. The Lincoln Memorial had nothing drawn on it, just splattered paint on the foot, left leg, chair and abdominal area of the statue.
It is unclear if the three instances of vandalism are related.
U.S. Park Police officers tell WNEW’s John Domen that what happened at the Lincoln Memorial is regrettable but should not be a total surprise, when you consider their financial situation.
“We’re kind of under the gun, as it were, to cover large areas with fewer people,” said Ian Glick, head of the Park Police Officers’ Union. Sequestration chipped away at the department’s budget, but officers had already warned of under-staffing for years, he said.
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