According to Henderson Police Public Information Officer Jennifer Richmond, Anthony Burrus, 27, was arrested in connection with the incident that took place in Central Park at around 6 a.m. where nearly 200 Memorial day crosses were plowed over by his car.
The vehicle Burrus was driving, a 1979 Ford Thunderbird, was found with pieces of the crosses embedded in the tires, after he abandoned the vehicle at a nearby McDonald’s. According to Richmond, Burrus admitted to driving his car earlier that morning, but denied having any connection with the vandalism. After a thorough police investigation, Burrus was found and arrested at his sister’s apartment complex and is being charged with first degree criminal mischief as well as leaving the scene of an accident.
Richmond said that a number of tips, Facebook posts, and vehicle searches led officers to make the connections necessary for the arrest of Burrus. The Memorial Day display in Central Park has more than 5000 crosses, each bearing a name of a local resident who served in the military. After hearing the horrible news of the act of vandalism that took place, friends and families all came to check and see if one of their loved one’s crosses had been amongst those that were destroyed.
“For somebody to do this to a veteran who gave his life, I don’t understand. I don’t have any words. I’m speechless,” Jim Hanley, a member of the Legion, said Saturday morning.
Bob Dutton Sr.’s son, Robert K. Dutton, had a cross in his honor displayed in the park that was among the crosses that were completely destroyed. “I lost my son seven years ago, and this is so sad to know somebody would do this without thinking about the consequences,” Dutton said.
Kathy Tigue has lost three of her brothers who were serving in the military. Although the crosses bearing her brothers’ names were not harmed, she still is feeling the pain that the other families are going through. “This is heartbreaking,” Tigue said. “How could someone be so cruel, so heartless is beyond me. God help whoever did it. It hurts these people, who have worked so hard.”
Jim Hanley, a member of the Legion, says that they will work to repair or replace all of the damaged crosses before Memorial Day. “This town loves their veterans, and this is proof,” he said, gesturing to the crowd. “We take care of each other around here, and this situation is no different.”