A man suspected of shooting red paint at an Israeli flag on a major boulevard in Philadelphia was taken into custody Tuesday.
Laura Frank, an employee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, said that she and her colleagues ran to the display of world flags after a friend called to tell them the Israeli flag was being vandalized.
“As we approached, we noticed a man with a paint gun shooting paint at the Israeli flag,” she told local news service WPVI. She took photos of the man and called police, who arrested him and found a paintball gun with red paint in a trash can close to the flag.
Mayor Jim Kenney confirmed a suspect was taken into custody and decried the vandalism as hateful.
“I’m very upset to learn of the desecration of the Israeli flag that hangs along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Hate and anti-Semitism have no place in the City of Philadelphia,” Kenney told CBS Philadelphia. “While I understand that emotions are running high and there are many viewpoints stemming from recent violence against Palestinians and other protesters in the Gaza Strip, it doesn’t warrant hateful acts of violence.”
The suspect’s name hasn’t been released, and WPVI reported that police are investigating the incident as a case of vandalism rather than a hate crime.