Tagger Arrested In Connection With Vandalized Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall
A tagger who uses the moniker “LITER” (pronounced LIGHT-er) was arrested Wednesday in connection with the much-publicized defacement of the Vietnam War Memorial Wall earlier this year. The historic Venice mural, located on the wall of a Metro bus yard, serves as a monument to the 2,273 POWs and troops declared Missing in Action during the Vietnam War, and its vandalism sparked widespread community outrage.
The Sheriff's Department reports that Angel Castro, the 24-year-old tagger, was identified through his graffiti moniker, and that he admitted his role in the vandalism during an initial interview with the lead detective on the case. Detective Michael Thibodeaux, a graffiti and tagging crime expert, identified four monikers (“NONER”, “PHEB”, “SNAKE’, and “LITER”) on the wall as having created the most damage, and later linked NONER to a Bay Area tagging group, according to a Sheriff's bulletin.
In the days after the incident, ABC 7 reports that concerned citizens came from as far afield as Lancaster to volunteer with cleanup efforts for the mural. "The bad guys were not going to win today. We are going to come here and repair the wall. These guys gave their lives so that we can have what we have today, and I refuse for them to be disrespected," one volunteer told ABC 7.
Shortly thereafter, Metro and Councilman Mike Bonin announced that the graffiti damage was too extensive to be removed without further damaging the wall.
“Unfortunately, restoring the mural is not as simple as removing the paint left by the vandals," Bonin said in a press release. "The mural, which is several decades old, had no protective anti-graffiti coating, so removal of the vandals’ paint could destroy the mural itself." Metro and the councilman's office pledged that they would work with the community to gather historical photos so that the mural could be restored to its original condition.
The Sheriff's Department reports that they are still seeking information regarding the other suspects involved in the vandalism with monikers “PHEB”, “NONER”, and “SNAKE" and ask anyone with information about the other three to call Transit Policing Division detectives at (888) 950-SAFE (7233).