Vandals deface Rainier mural honoring fallen soldier

Staff writerApril 9, 2014 

Graffiti mars a mural honoring a fallen soldier.

BY JEREMY PAWLOSKI

Vandals have again defaced a mural honoring fallen soldier and Rainier native Sgt. Justin Norton.

Norton was just 21 when he was killed in action by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Baghdad, Iraq on June 24, 2006.

In 2011, the Rainier community came together to honor Norton by painting a mural of him on a train trestle that's visible from the road at the edge of town.

Over the past several years, vandals have repeatedly defaced the mural. Most recently, on Tuesday night when vandals painted the words "war criminal" over the mural.

Norton's stepfather Gary Warnock, said Wednesday that the mural will be restored again.

"It's not going to stop us from restoring it," he said of the vandalism. "We're going to go back and fix it and make it right."

Adam Barr, one of the artists who helped restore the mural in 2013, said the act of vandalism is "rude and disrespectful," as well as "a slap in the face to the family."

Barr said the vandalism is fixable.

Thurston County Sheriff's Lt. Greg Elwin said Wednesday that the vandalism is not being investigated as a crime, because the mural is on private railroad property, and was never officially sanctioned by the railroad.

"We are disgusted that somebody would deface a memorial of a local hero, but we are frustrated because we cannot take legal action," Elwin said.

 

 

 

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445; jpawloski@theolympian.com

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