A vandal who carved his name on a sacred Texas shrine was arrested in San Antonio and charged for vandalizing The Alamo. Since ancient times, travelers and soldiers have left their marks around the world. The graffiti stretches back to the Roman Empire with the centurion equivalent of “Kilroy Was Here”.
In what is a sacred site to Texas, one man decided to carve his name into an interior wall of the Alamo. For his troubles, Julio Perez faces a variety of charges and an estimated $250,000 in damages to the Chapel walls.
It started Thursday afternoon, just hours after Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced a $31.5 million dollar restoration of the Alamo and grounds, as reported by Breitbart Texas.
The Chief Ranger at the Alamo is Mark Adkins, according to a report by the Daily Mail. In a statement released Friday, he said, “In Texas, we take our history seriously and consider the Alamo to be sacred ground.” He added, “Desecration of any part of these hallowed grounds, especially the walls of the Alamo Chapel, will not be tolerated, and we will support prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.”
It was late Thursday afternoon when a tour guide spotted a young man taking a car key to the walls of the Monks burial room, off the main chapel, the San Antonio Express-News reported. She yelled at him to stop, saying “You can’t do that. You need to stop,” and he bolted from the room, along with a female friend, only to be grabbed by the Alamo Rangers before he cleared the grounds. He was held for San Antonio police, who arrived within minutes, and was hauled off to the Bexar County jail.
The San Antonio police report doesn’t show that Perez was interviewed by officers, and gave no statement to them prior to being booked into the Bexar County Jail. It shows only that Perez was born in Mexico in 1993, and is from Laredo. And while the report does not clarify his citizenship or immigration status, certain elements have been redacted.
Reaction from other visitors to the shine of Texas Liberty include Nancy Morrison, who said “People want to the see the Alamo as it was, they don’t want to come in and see what someone thought was their piece of history on it.”
“You should always preserve the history and knowing the significance of the Alamo after we went through it really is not good,” says, Surajid Senguppa, Visitor
Police said that the carving was of the suspect’s name, “Julio,” and that it measured about 3 inches by 1 inch.
While the damage may be relatively small in size, it was a big deal to Friday morning visitors.
“I think it’s horrible. Absolutely horrible,” said Debra Blanchette, who traveled from Phoenix to visit the national monument. “I think it’s appalling. This place has been here for many, many years. What’s the point?”
The entire incident was reported as “criminal mischief” in a church, temple or synagogue, showing damage between $100,000 and $200,000.
Alamo Rangers say vandalism hasn’t occurred here in a very long time. Historic preservation and restoration experts are evaluating the damage and are starting to make repairs.
“We aren’t here to protect the Alamo just for ourselves, but for every Texan and for every United States citizen, it is a historical landmark, many Texans died here, fighting for the independence of Texas and we don’t take it lightly when someone comes and desecrates this area,” Adkins stated.
In 2012, the Express-News reported, a 21-year-old man from El Paso was arrested after urinating at the base of the church’s famed facade. The man later pleaded guilty to criminal mischief of a public monument or place of human burial. He was sentenced by a judge to 18 months in a state jail facility and ordered to pay $4,000 in restitution.
But the “most infamous” bit of desecration to the Alamo occurred on February 19th 1982, when rocker Ozzy Osborne urinated not on the Alamo, but on the cenotaph monument in front of the fortress. He was charged with public urination and intoxication, and was bailed out with $40 by the concert promoter. And yes, he was wearing a dress, since his wife and hidden all his clothes. Osborne was banned from San Antonio for ten years and made amends to the Alamo with a $10,000 donation to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.
Rob Milford is a news contributor to Breitbart Texas. You can follow him on Facebook.