The 14-year-old allegedly went to Lt. Michael P. Murphy Park in Lake Ronkonkoma and smashed a circular stone tribute bearing the fallen SEAL’s image and an inscription on Thursday, New York News reported.
The Suffolk County PD began an investigation, asking anyone who knew anything to call in and offering a cash reward of $2,500. It wasn’t long before they found who they were looking for.
At 3 a.m. the police department arrested a 14-year-old boy for vandalizing the memorial. They arrested him in Ronkonkoma and subsequently charged him with criminal mischief in the second degree.
SCPD today arrested a 14-year-old male for vandalizing the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial in Lake Ronkonkoma. Fourth Squad detectives arrested the juvenile at his Ronkonkoma home and he was charged with Criminal Mischief 2nd Degree. He is scheduled to be arraigned at family court
— Suffolk County PD (@SCPDHq) July 20, 2018
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that the state of New York would pay for a replacement: “I am appalled and disgusted by this apparent act of vandalism. The State of New York will fully fund the replacement of the plaque, and I hope this brings comfort to his family and community. The people of this state and this nation owe Lieutenant Murphy a debt of gratitude, and I personally thank him for his service.” He said that “to desecrate this honor is beyond the pale.”
U.S. Navy: The memorial park and its centerpiece honor Lt. Michael “Murph” Murphy, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions taken in Afghanistan. He was killed in action on June 28, 2005, on Operation Red Wings. His Medal of Honor citation reads as follows:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life and above and beyond the call of duty as the leader of a special reconnaissance element with Naval Special Warfare task unit Afghanistan on 27 and 28 June 2005.
While leading a mission to locate a high-level anti-coalition militia leader, Lieutenant Murphy demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan. On 28 June 2005, operating in an extremely rugged enemy-controlled area, Lieutenant Murphy’s team was discovered by anti-coalition militia sympathizers, who revealed their position to Taliban fighters. As a result, between 30 and 40 enemy fighters besieged his four member team. Demonstrating exceptional resolve, Lieutenant Murphy valiantly led his men in engaging the large enemy force. The ensuing fierce firefight resulted in numerous enemy casualties, as well as the wounding of all four members of the team. Ignoring his own wounds and demonstrating exceptional composure, Lieutenant Murphy continued to lead and encourage his men. When the primary communicator fell mortally wounded, Lieutenant Murphy repeatedly attempted to call for assistance for his beleaguered teammates. Realizing the impossibility of communicating in the extreme terrain, and in the face of almost certain death, he fought his way into open terrain to gain a better position to transmit a call. This deliberate, heroic act deprived him of cover, exposing him to direct enemy fire. Finally achieving contact with his headquarters, Lieutenant Murphy maintained his exposed position while he provided his location and requested immediate support for his team. In his final act of bravery, he continued to engage the enemy until he was mortally wounded, gallantly giving his life for his country and for the cause of freedom. By his selfless leadership, Lieutenant Murphy reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
Lone Survivor author Marcus Lutrell served with Murphy and called the youth a “coward” for his alleged act of vandalism. Meanwhile, thousands have offered to donate money to have the memorial restored. Fortunately, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says those efforts will be unnecessary, as the state will pay for its replacement.
“The people of this state and this nation owe Lt. Murphy a debt of gratitude, and I personally thank him for his service,” he said.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.