The individual allegedly spray-painted swastikas on the pillars at Union Station
By Adam Sabes
Washington, D.C. police have arrested a suspect after swastikas were found spray-painted at Union Station.
The Metropolitan Police Department said in a press release that Geraldo Pando, 34, was arrested and is being charged with defacing private/public property and display of certain emblems.
Pando allegedly spray-painted the swastikas onto the pillars and building of Union Station at 12:45 a.m. on Friday.
In a statement, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called the crime "disturbing," and said that the graffiti is being removed.
"This morning, commuters in the District of Columbia were met with the disturbing sight of swastikas drawn on our historic Union Station. This symbol of hate displayed in our city is both shocking and unsettling, particularly on the heels of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Amtrak Police Department, which has primary jurisdiction in the investigation, is working with the Metropolitan Police Department to investigate the incident, and Union Station currently has a team of experts working diligently to remove the graffiti from the historic granite," Bowser said.
She also said that the symbol has no place within the city, adding that she stands with the Jewish community.
"This antisemitic and hateful symbol has no place in our city, and we stand united with the members of our Jewish community against anti-Semitism in all its forms," Bowser said.
Pando is accused of spray-painting graffiti onto buildings at the 900 block of 5th Street, Northwest; 400 block of Massachusetts Avenue, Northwest; and the 400 block of L Street, Northwest.
Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs, an education organization that combats antisemitism and supports Israel told Fox News Digital that these kinds of attacks against Jewish people "only serve to make us stronger."
"It's a shame that people of malicious intent would mark such a solemn day with hate. What they don't realize is that these kinds of attacks against the Jewish people will only serve to make us stronger. We are confident that the DC police department will do all it can to find the perpetrator(s)," Rothstein said.
The Metropolitan Police Department and the Amtrak Police are investigating the crime as potentially being motivated by hate or bias, but said that might change as the investigation proceeds.
"The Metropolitan Police Department and the Amtrak Police are investigating the offense in the Unit block of Massachusetts Avenue, Northeast, as potentially being motivated in whole or in part by hate or bias. The designation can be changed at any point as an investigation proceeds and more information is gathered. A designation as a hate or bias-motivated crime by MPD does not mean that prosecutors will prosecute it as a hate crime. The Special Liaison Branch is assisting with this investigation," the press release states.
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