Memorial honoring fallen Colorado soldiers damaged ahead of Independence Day

Over the Independence Day weekend, a memorial dedicated to Colorado's fallen soldiers was apparently vandalized, its glass shattered.

AURORA - Over the Independence Day weekend, a memorial dedicated to Colorado's fallen soldiers was apparently vandalized, its glass shattered. 

The founder of the Colorado Freedom Memorial, Rick Crandall, posted pictures of shattered glass panels on the memorial's Facebook Page Monday. 

He estimates the damage at $40-55,000.

"What a sad comment it is that a place that honors Colorado's fallen who gave their lives defending the Freedom we celebrate on the 4th, would be subject to this," his post reads.

The memorial is insured, Crandall says, but the reimbursement likely won't cover the full repair cost. 

9NEWS photojournalist Byron Reed headed to the memorial in Aurora and saw the damage first hand, and spoke with Crandall. 

Crandall says he headed to the memorial Monday morning to tidy up, as he often does. He noticed one panel, from a few feet away, wasn't as shiny as the rest. 

"My heart just sunk," he said. "It's the one thing I've worried about from the day we dedicated this. You believe in the good of people, you believe that it's going to be safe. That people will understand what it is and what it represents and won't touch it. But, that belief was shattered this morning along with the panel."

He believes it was vandalized, but police have not yet called the damage an act of vandalism.

Aurora Police say an officer responded early Monday morning to the Colorado Freedom Memorial to investigate the damage. Officers are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident - police say the investigation is ongoing.

Crandall looked for a rock or anything, since he says he saw a point of impact. He found nothing. 

The panel shattered is the smallest on the entire memorial, and it costs more than $40,000 to repair just one panel, Crandall said.

The damage, Crandall says, is something he takes personally.

"I've given every thought possible to not believing this was done intentionally," he said. "It's fairly obvious. Somebody intentionally came out here, and you know what? When they took a stab at that they took a shot at me and that hurts a little bit."

The Aurora Police Department is asking anybody with information regarding this incident to contact Detective Eric White at (303)739-6011.

Tipsters can remain anonymous and report information to Metro Denver Crime Stoppers by calling 720-913-7867. Tipsters can be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000.

The Aurora Police Department is also offering a Reward of up to $2,000 from the Aurora Police Reward Fund for information that leads to an arrest and conviction, in the event that this is determined to be a criminal incident.

Supporters have set up a GoFundMe to raise money for repairs

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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