A 9/11 memorial in the San Diego-area community of Pacific Beach was vandalized on the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
The memorial sculpture, dedicated to first responders who died during the 2001 attacks, stands in front of a fire station and consists of two polished aluminum replicas of the World Trade Center towers. Engraved on the memorial are the names of the 430 police, firefighters and paramedics who died when the buildings collapsed after terrorists flew hi-jacked planes into them. Between the towers is a 250-pound section of a steel I-beam from the World Trade Center.
Firefighters told Fox 5 San Diego they heard the sound of the replica towers being knocked over at about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. One of them said it sounded like someone had thrown a manhole cover.
"More than likely, this was intentional," San Diego Fire Capt. Bill Degrenier told Fox 5. "The crews on duty heard the tower go down. They gave chase, but the people got away."
The firefighters saw a woman and two men standing near the damaged memorial, but they weren't able to see them well enough to provide a useful description, according to Fox 5.
One of the local department's own sculpted the memorial, Degrenier said.
"The firefighter who crafted this, Tim Swanson from this station, he's on vacation, and he doesn't know about it yet. He's going to be pretty crushed. He put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this, " Degrenier said.
For now, they've brought the memorial inside the firehouse, where it will be repaired when Swanson returns.
"I'm sure it's going to get welded back into place and it will stand as a proud memorial to the people who died in New York that day," Degrenier said.