Somerville, MA – Police are looking for a man who was allegedly seen urinating on American flags in a World War II cemetery on Monday.
George Gatteny was outraged when he witnessed a man and woman removing the flags from around a statue in the Somerville Veterans Memorial Cemetery, he wrote in a Facebook post.
Gatteny described in great detail how he got out of the car and yelled at the two 20-somethings who were desecrating American flags in a military cemetery.
“I looked over to my right and saw young people (early to mid 20's) go into the Somerville Veterans Memorial Cemetery. As they approached the statue, I saw them grab the 3 or 4 mini flags that were placed in from of the statue. The guy took the flags and tossed them behind the statue,” Gatteny posted.
“What I saw him do next pushed me to a point where I said to myself "ENOUGH". The guy started urinating on the flags,” the outraged man continued.
“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,” Gatteny said.
“I walked behind them for awhile telling everyone I pass what they did. 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,” he said.
“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!” Gatteny wrote on his Facebook page.
He added an update to the post that said he had met with an officer from the Somerville Police Department, and urged angry readers of his story not to take matters into their own hands.
“[The police] are all over this,” Gatteny added to the post which had more than 18,000 comments and 42,000 shares.
Somerville Police Deputy Chief James Stanford told the Boston Globe that his detectives were working to identify the individuals.
“We are aware of the Facebook posting and have opened an investigation into the matter,’’ Chief Stanford wrote in an email to the Boston Globe. “This is an active and ongoing investigation and no further information is available at this time.”
Police have asked for the public’s help in identifying the individuals in the pictures Gatteny took.