A memorial commemorating fallen Navy SEAL and Patchogue native Michael Murphy has been vandalized, and Suffolk police are seeking information on the culprit.
Officers are “investigating the recent act of vandalism that took place at Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Park in Lake Ronkonkoma,”Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said in a written statement Thursday night.
Matt Balkam, 51, of Lake Grove, said he saw a photo on Facebook of the damage Thursday and went to see it for himself. At the memorial site on Lake Shore Road, he found the circular stone slab bearing Murphy’s name and image shattered into fragments.
“To me it looked like either they took a brick or some sort of a hammer” to it, Balkam said of the damage.
“It’s wrong on every level,” he said.
Murphy, who was awarded a Medal of Honor,was killed in Afghanistan in 2005.
In a written statement, Murphy’s father, Daniel Murphy, of Wading River, said his family is “heartbroken” by the vandalism.
“There were so many from the community who volunteered their labor, time and money to build Serenity Plaza. It’s unfortunate that some devalue the service and sacrifice of our Veterans and Fallen Heroes . . . through damage to a monument,” he said.
Police are asking anyone with information about the damage to call 800-220-TIPS.
“A Crime Stoppers fast cash reward of $2,500 has been made available,” Hart’s statement read.