- Associated Press - Thursday, July 14, 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A 24-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of vandalizing a Vietnam War memorial in Venice, Los Angeles County authorities said Thursday.

Angel Castro was arrested and booked Wednesday by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the first arrest to have been made in connection with the incident.

Taggers defaced the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in the city’s Venice Beach area just before Memorial Day. It was spray-painted from one end to the other with giant white letters, covering and disfiguring about a third of the solider names on it.

The memorial, dedicated in 1992, includes the names of 2,273 American prisoners or soldiers missing in action. In a mural above the names is the phrase “You are not forgotten” along with a scene including an American flag.

The artist who made the wall is now dead, but since hearing of the damage, his daughter has said she wants to be a part of restoration work, said Donna Lasman, executive director of Venice Chamber of Commerce. The city and Chamber of Commerce are currently raising money for the mural to be repainted by a local public art company, Lasman said.

“People commit their lives to serving our country and deserve the highest respect and honor from us,” she said. “It’s horrifying to see this level of disrespect”.

Castro is one of four men detectives believe responsible for the graffiti. They say he admitted his role in the vandalism on Wednesday and could face more serious charges.

Castro’s bail is set at $95,000. It’s unclear whether he has an attorney.

Detectives are now seeking information about the three other suspects and trying to determine whether the men acted together or individually.

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