A 14-year-old was arrested for vandalizing a memorial honoring an Irish American Navy SEAL from Long Island. The stone centerpiece in Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Park in Lake Ronkonkoma was discovered smashed into pieces on Thursday.
Amazingly the parents of the dead SEAL forgave him for his actions
The monument honored Lt. Michael P. Murphy, who was awarded the U.S. military’s highest decoration for his heroic actions during the war in Afghanistan. He was the first American awarded the Medal of Honor during the war.
Murphy, 29, and two other Navy SEALS were killed in 2005 during an ambush. Their mission was the subject of the book Lone Survivor, which was later made into a film starring Mark Wahlberg.
Read More: Special Veteran’s Day on Long Island as SEAL Michael Murphy remembered
According to authorities, the 14-year-old suspect was arrested at his home in Ronkonkoma on early Friday. He was charged with second-degree criminal mischief and is schedule to be arraigned at Family Family Court on a later date, ABC Eyewitness News reports.
SCPD is investigating vandalism @ Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Park in Lake Ronkonkoma. @SCPD4thPrecinct is assigned to the case. Anyone w/information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. A fast cash reward of $2,500 for info leading to arrest. #navyseal #murph pic.twitter.com/v3vMc6eLDC— Suffolk County PD (@SCPDHq) July 20, 2018
Murphy’s father Daniel said that he doesn’t believe the teen understands the significance of what he has done.
"Unfortunately the stonework isn't here anymore, but if you look at one of the places where he struck Michael was right at the heart, which is like striking at the heart of America," he said. "Michael was the type of person who would have wanted to take that man under his wing and talk to him."
Murphy’s mother Maureen said, "I lost Mike and then when I saw that I felt like I lost him again because, you know, I was proud to come down and see this.”
She said she hopes someone explains to the boy what her son and his team of SEALS did for the country.
"The boy who did this, he's a child. He did something foolish. And everybody has done something foolish when they're younger," Maureen Murphy said.
(2/2) @us_navyseals LT Michael P. Murphy was killed in action on June 28, 2005 in Afghanistan.— NYPDCounterterrorism (@NYPDCT) July 20, 2018
The Suffolk County native, Medal of Honor recipient and war HERO has had many awards, places & even a ship named in his honor.
We must #NeverForget his sacrifice. #HonorThem pic.twitter.com/4iv0UNLGpS
Gov. Andrew Cuomo released the following statement:
"Lieutenant Michael Murphy served our nation with extraordinary courage, valor and dignity, and we are all indebted to him and his family for his sacrifice. He was a Smithtown native who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the military's highest decoration, for his actions in Afghanistan during Operation Red Wings on June 28, 2005, the first member of the Navy to be awarded the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. This most-esteemed award memorializes and honors his leadership and service, and to desecrate this honor is beyond the pale.
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"I am appalled and disgusted by this apparent act of vandalism. The State of New York will fully fund the replacement of the plaque, and I hope this brings comfort to his family and community. The people of this state and this nation owe Lieutenant Murphy a debt of gratitude, and I personally thank him for his service."
Along with New York State, Suffolk County and the Town of Brookhaven have also offered to pay for a new plaque, which is already being made. In addition, the town has received numerous donations from private citizens, and a local company has offered to install free surveillance cameras at the site.