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National WWI Museum and Memorial monument, other sites vandalized overnight

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Posted at 10:00 AM, Jun 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-18 19:35:17-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A number of sites across Kansas City, Missouri, were vandalized overnight, including the dedication wall at the National WWI Museum and Memorial, police said.

Kansas City police were searching for two suspects after discovering graffiti on the museum's dedication wall at Pershing Road and Main Street just before 1 a.m. Tuesday.

The person who called police told them he saw two people spray paint "Glory to the fallen" on the monument before running away. The spray-painted message referred to a Peruvian prison massacre that occurred 33 years ago on this day.

"This is Kansas City’s front porch," Matt Naylor, President and CEO of the National WWI Museum and Memorial said. "It’s very disappointing to see people would cause damage here to this memorial."

What took the vandals minutes to spray-paint, took hours to cleanup.

"The pigments and the colors, they’re so bold and it really just stands out in any kind of masonry," Stephen Haith, owner of DSG Equipment and Supplies said.

Haith's company and Mid America Metals donated their time and service to get rid of the graffiti.

Across town, so did Ralph Colangelo who used his own paint to cover the vandals message up at the Calvary Temple Church on Saint John Avenue.

"It’s a bad thing, it’s not right to do that to people who are trying to help you with food and clothing and everything else in the community," Colangelo said.

Pastor Wendell Hamilton told 41 Action News the building vandalized is the church's fellowship hall that hosts bible study classes on Wednesday nights.

"If they were trying to bring attention, vandalism overrides what you’re trying to bestow on folks," Hamilton said.

The suspects also defaced a Truman Medical Center Building at 1800 Truman Road.

A spokesperson for the hospital said cleanup will cost nearly $1,000. The vandals also targeted a vacant building at 30th and Prospect, the bathrooms at Concorde park and the Gladstone Blvd bridge nearby.

"There’s always graffiti under that bridge. Always. Whether it’s ‘Manny loves Lola,’ you know we’re going to pay for it either way," Laura Elsen, a KCMO resident said.

This is the second time in four years vandals have targeted the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

"We welcome protesters, we’re a free-speech campus and the tragedy is that they didn’t need to do damage to the memorial to make their point," Naylor said.

KCPD Chief Rick Smith responded the acts of vandalism in a blog post.

"To desecrate the National World War I Memorial and Museum is both illegal and stupid. It insults the tens of thousands of men who gave their lives so that we might continue to have the right to express our political beliefs," Chief Smith wrote in the post.

Chief Smith added detectives have solid leads as they continue to investigate.

Anyone with information regarding these cases of vandalism is asked contact the TIPS Hotline online or call 816-474-TIPS (8477).