Memorial Day cross display 'desecrated' by Kentucky man in a car

Police in Henderson have arrested a 27-year-old local resident 

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Sunday 29 May 2016 14:49
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Residents are trying to repair the crosses ahead of Memorial Day
Residents are trying to repair the crosses ahead of Memorial Day

A community in Kentucky has been stunned after a man drove a car through a display of hundreds of crosses that had been set up for Memorial Day.

Residents of the town of Henderson, west of Louisville, are trying to repair the display of crosses, that honoured more than 5,000 men who had served in various conflicts since the Revolutionary War.

“It has really upset the entire community,” Jennifer Richmond, a spokeswoman for the Henderson city police department, told the Associated Press.

Police said they had charged 27-year-old Anthony Burrus, (Henderson Police Department )

“This is something you don't do. This is a form of desecration. These people served their country and then someone disrespected their memory in this way, and it's just totally unacceptable.”

The names on the crosses, she said, represented soldiers who died in conflicts or veterans who returned home and later died, all from the city and county of Henderson. Volunteers and the American Legion put the crosses up in May each year for a Memorial Day remembrance ceremony.

Police got a call just before 6am on Saturday Ms Richmond said, alerting them that someone had driven through the display at the park.

“Our officers got there and saw that someone drove right through the crosses and essentially ploughed them down,”she said.

Surveillance footage from nearby, she said, showed a late 1970s model Ford Thunderbird driving on a sidewalk. The vehicle description, along with Facebook posts from concerned community members, led police to Anthony Burrus, a 27-year-old Henderson resident.

Mr Burrus has been charged with criminal damage and leaving the scene of an accident. He has reportedly denied being involved.

Some of the crosses were embedded in the tyres of his vehicle, said Ms Richmond. Police do not know if he deliberately drove over the plastic crosses, she said.

“He said he didn't do it. He admitted to driving the vehicle in the morning but would not state that he drove through the park. But the evidence is in his car tyres.”

An estimated 160 crosses needed to be repaired or replaced.

“We're hoping to have all of them replaced by Monday,” said Ms Richmond, who has relatives honoured by crosses in the park. “But we don't know right now.”

Police asked people to mind their language when posting on their Facebook page. “Please keep it clean,” they wrote. “We understand your anger and sadness because we feel it too.”

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