Memorial for Baltimore bridge collapse victims vandalized

Jun 3, 2024, 11:45 AM

BALTIMORE (AP) — A memorial for the six victims of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore was vandalized over the weekend.

The elaborate display near the south end of the bridge has grown to include decorated wooden crosses and a red pickup truck suspended from nearby tree branches, which represents one of the work vehicles used by the six construction workers who were filling potholes on the bridge the night of the disaster.

An artist who helped create the memorial arrived Saturday morning to find gaping holes in the painted canvas backdrop he had recently installed. Roberto Marquez told The Baltimore Sun he reported the vandalism to police.

A Baltimore police spokesperson said officers responded to the location Saturday evening in response to a call about damaged property. Officials said no suspects have been identified.

Marquez traveled to Baltimore from Texas to contribute to the installation, which occupies a grassy area at an intersection.

The victims were all Latino immigrants who came to the United States from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to chase the American Dream. They plunged to their deaths after a container ship lost power and crashed into one of the bridge’s supporting columns in the early hours of March 26.

In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, Marquez and others sought to highlight its human toll and draw attention to the plight of grieving families, even as some conversations turned to economic impacts and supply chain disruptions caused by the temporary closure of Baltimore’s busy port.

The vandalized mural is the second backdrop installed by Marquez since the memorial started taking shape.

The original one displayed abstract scenes connected to the bridge collapse and its aftermath, including written messages from the men’s loved ones and a violent scene from the U.S. southern border that showed a row of armored officers fighting back desperate migrants. That mural was moved into storage last week and could end up in a Baltimore museum, according to local media reports.

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Memorial for Baltimore bridge collapse victims vandalized