Washington, DC – The Washington Monument was temporarily closed on Tuesday after a vandal splashed red paint onto the marble structure and scrawled an obscene message at its base.
“Have you been f—ked by this,” the graffiti read, according to WTOP. “Gov says tough s—t.”
The U.S. Park Police said it took a suspect into custody at approximately 8 p.m. on Sept. 20.
He was later identified as 44-year-old Shaun Ray Deaton, WNYW reported.
Deaton, who hails from Bloomington, Indiana, was charged with vandalism, trespassing, and tampering.
The investigation into the incident remained ongoing and police said additional charges could be forthcoming, according to ABC News.
The motive for the vandalism was unclear.
Nightly monument report. Someone has painted the the side with red paint. There is an individual in cuffs off to the side and police have blocked the area out to the grass. @fox5dc pic.twitter.com/s9HD84kPS0
— Katie Barlow (@katieleebarlow) September 20, 2022
The area around the base of the historic monument was temporarily closed to the public on Tuesday night so conservators could begin repairing and restoring it, WNYW reported.
NEW: U.S. Park Police arrest man who poured a can of red paint on the base of Washington Monument tonight and wrote the message "have you been f— by this, gov says tough s—-" @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/JwXoVURYZE
— Tom Lynch (@TomLynch_) September 21, 2022
“The United States Park Police has an adult male in custody for vandalizing the base of the Washington Monument with paint,” the US Park Police told ABC News in a statement. “The area at the base of the monument will be temporarily closed.”
National Parks Service (NPS) Spokesperson Mike Litterst explained that the porous nature of the marble could have allowed a significant amount of the paint to be absorbed, according to WTOP.
At first light, our Monument Preservation crew got to work on the Washington Monument, after it was defaced with red paint last night. The top layer of paint is coming off and the pigment that seeped into the stone will be treated with many rounds of cleaning product application. pic.twitter.com/ifFHoTTuif
— National Mall NPS (@NationalMallNPS) September 21, 2022
As a result, the restoration process will likely require multiple treatments applied over a period of several weeks.
“It’s very similar to the vandalism at the Lincoln Memorial in 2008 when a woman threw green paint at the base of the statue,” Litterst told WNYW. “Same material. Paint on marble is very difficult to remove. Like we expect here – that one took multiple treatments over a couple of weeks. But ultimately, it was entirely successful.”
The NPS said on Wednesday that a week of sunlight will also “help return the monument to its usual impressive state,” ABC News reported.