CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Investigators say they have issued warrants for a suspect in the vandalism of the Charleston 9 Memorial Park on Savannah Highway.
Officials with the Charleston Police Department say warrants for malicious injury to real property and attempts to burn have been issued for 32-year-old Eman Mubarak Brown of Charleston.
Authorities say Brown also has an additional warrant for petit larceny for the theft of an American flag and South Carolina state flag from the flag pole of the CresCom bank at 884 Orleans Road.
According to police, the flags were taken two hours after the Charleston 9 Memorial was vandalized.
CPD officials said private surveillance video from a business near the memorial site and at the bank aided in the identification of the offender.
“We would like to thank the members of the community and our extended fire service family for your support throughout the incident. Thank you to our partners in the Charleston Police Department who were able to quickly resolve this situation,” said Charleston Fire Chief Dan Curia.
On June 26 at 1:40 a.m., a police officer stopped at the Charleston 9 Memorial park, located at 1807 Savannah Highway, when he noticed debris in the median. The officer found an American flag draped over a cross along with several smaller flags scattered around, an incident report states.
The officer then noticed the nine PVC pipe memorial crosses at the park had been ripped out of the ground and broken.
The memorial marks the former site of the Sofa Super Store, where nine Charleston city firefighters died battling a massive fire in the furniture showroom on June 18, 2007.
A witness said he had been by approximately 10 to 15 minutes earlier and had stopped when he noticed several flags in the roadway. The witness told the officer he picked up the flags and placed them in the median so that vehicles would not run over them. He said he also noticed that some of the flags smelled like gasoline, the incident report states.
Police say the American flag and the Charleston 9 Memorial flag had been removed from the flagpole in the park, and an angel statue at the Louis Mulkey memorial plaque had been knocked over and an American flag had been broken off of the Billy Hutchinson memorial plaque.
The officer also found a 1-gallon jug that smelled of gasoline near the roadway.