The Washington Monument was vandalized Tuesday in the U.S. capital, with an unnamed suspect swiftly arrested after allegedly splashing blood-red paint and scrawling a provocative question onto the historic landmark, according to the New York Post.
“Have u been fucked by this,” read the message at the base of the monument, with an arrow pointing upward. “Gov says tough shit.”
The vandalism occurred around 7:30 p.m., Sgt. Thomas Twiname, a public information officer for the U.S. Park Police, told USA Today. The law enforcement agency issued an alert on Twitter about one hour later, stating that an adult male had been apprehended.
It remains unclear whether the suspect is currently facing criminal charges, according to NBC News.
“The area at the base of the monument will be temporarily closed,” Park Police said in a statement obtained by ABC News, with no further details on when it will reopen.
The monument itself was completed in 1884, at which point the 555-foot structure became the tallest in the world. It retained that record for five years, until the Eiffel Tower in Paris was finished. The Washington landmark nonetheless draws more than 600,000 annual visitors.
“At first light, our Monument Preservation crew got to work on the Washington Monument,” the National Park Service’s National Mall unit tweeted Wednesday. “The top layer of paint is coming off and the pigment that seeped into the stone will be treated with many rounds of cleaning product application.”
This isn’t the first time that the monument has undergone restoration. The initial instance, occurring one year after the National Park Service gained jurisdiction over the structure in 1933, was part of public works efforts aimed at alleviating unemployment in wake of the Great Depression by hiring workers to build new infrastructure.
Additional restorations occurred in 1964, as well as from 1998 to 2001 and from 2011 to 2014. Further work was done from 2016 to 2019 to install a safer and more modern elevator.