LSU Student Allegedly Burns American Flag After News of Bin Laden's Death

ROTC members at LSU stand next to the flagpole at the school's war memorial.

ROTC members at LSU stand next to the flagpole at the school's war memorial.  (LSU Office of Communications & University Relations)

Police at Louisiana State University are searching for a student who they say burned the American flag at the campus' historic War Memorial hours after news of Usama bin Laden’s killing.

University police say they recovered a stolen vehicle that was used by Isaac Eslava during the brazen early-morning act at the Baton Rouge campus. An LSU flag, drug paraphernalia and clothing belonging to the suspect were discovered inside the vehicle, police said in a statement.

“We’re exploring all options,” Sgt. Blake Tabor, from the LSU police, said. “We have detectives working around the clock.”

Police did not identify a motive but called the event very “coincidental” that it took place soon after bin Laden’s death.

The 10-by-15 flag flies atop a 102-foot pole 24 hours a day at the campus and honors all the war dead from LSU. Police say there was about $7,530 worth of damage at the memorial.

Eslava, 23, allegedly cut the cords and proceeded to light the flag on fire. The Louisiana state flag and the LSU flag that were also on the pole were not harmed. 

The Daily Reveille, the student newspaper, reported that a facility service worker yelled at an individual near the memorial at 5:15 a.m. The individual fled.

Eslava reportedly has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Colombia and it is believed he has fled to Atlanta, Ga., according to a university news release.

The flag burning created heated debates on campus and the school’s Facebook page had hundreds of comments regarding the event.

Members of LSU’s ROTC program organized a flag-raising ceremony that took place late Monday night and was attended by 50 or so other students.

The Reveille reported that David Jones, a former student government senator, prepared the service.

"This is unacceptable at our university," Jones told a crowd, the paper reported.