Following reporting that vandals defaced a piece of artwork meant to honor the victims of a recent school shooting late last week and that no police report had been filed, police have received a complaint and are investigating.
Police originally said no investigation was taking place due to a lack of a police complaint, but Springfield police were contacted Friday night at 7 p.m. about the vandalism of the art installation, which was created in remembrance of the Parkland, Florida, shooting victims.
The vandalism occurred between Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. It was discovered on Thursday. An investigation is underway although there have been no leads in the case, said Springfield Police Spokesman, Ryan Walsh.
The vandalism, which left panels of drywall broken in half and strewn about in front of the entrance to South Congregational Church, destroyed the artwork of Manuel Oliver, the father of Parkland victim Joaquin “Guac” Oliver. The four panel art piece, part of a project called Walls of Demand, showed a gunman in one corner, an image of Oliver’s son in another and representations of the other victims in between.
Trevaughn Smith, co-director of the anti-gun violence organization Teens for Action, said that he had informed Oliver of the vandalism.
“He didn’t expect anything less, honestly,” said Smith. That is because, Smith said, Springfield is very polarized between those that believe in their second amendment rights and those that condemn gun violence. Smith believes the destruction of the art was politically motivated. Oliver could not be reached for comment.
Walls of Demand is a 17-city project in which Oliver creates artwork across four panels of drywall that presents an anti-gun violence message. Though each wall is different, they all depict an image of his slain son.