Spray-painted messages on Alamo’s Cenotaph have people seeing red

2 other downtown sites also targeted by taggers

Graffiti spray-painted on the Cenotaph on the grounds of The Alamo has some people seeing red.

SAN ANTONIO – Graffiti spray-painted on the Cenotaph on the grounds of The Alamo has some people seeing red.

Graffiti found in multiple places downtown, including Cenotaph in Alamo Plaza

The message scrawled across the marble base of the memorial, which honors the defenders of the Alamo, first came to the attention of San Antonio Park Police shortly after midnight Friday.

Graffiti found in multiple places downtown, including cenotaph in Alamo Plaza

The words there seemed to condemn white supremacy, capitalism and The Alamo, itself.

“I’m aghast. I’m appalled. I cant believe that somebody would do that,” said Daniel Esquivel.

The red paint caught his attention hours later as he paid a visit to a nearby post office.

“This is something that’s sacred to Texas,” he said. “Obviously this couldn’t have been a Texan that did this.”

That, apparently, wasn’t the only damage done by taggers overnight.

Police found a similar spray-painted message on the wall of a parking garage in the 100 block of Losoya Street.

The garage belongs to the Hyatt hotel across the street.

A worker there quickly tried to erase the message. However, someone came along later and added more paint to the wall in an attempt to cover up the original damage.

Police also found red paint spelling out an anti-policy brutality message on the sidewalk at Travis Park.

They later arrested Noah Escamilla, 25, in connection only with that case.

While police say they’re not sure yet if all of the graffiti is connected, all of the sites do have ties to The Alamo’s defenders.

The wall that was painted on Losoya Street is just inches away from a statue honoring Toribio Losoya, while Travis Park is named for William Barret Travis.

“Why would someone do this to a monument that has stood here for almost 100 years?,” asked Justin Seiler, staring at the damage to the Cenotaph. “It’s the same thing as desecrating someone’s headstone.”

Seiler, a descendant of at least two people who fought in the battle of The Alamo, is part a group that oversees local Confederate gravesites.

He initially was concerned that some of those sites might have been targeted too.

Esquivel, meanwhile, believes the vandalism was triggered by a different battle, an ongoing showdown between police and protestors in Minneapolis about the death of an African American man at the hands of an officer.

Still, he says, the Cenotaph tagger went too far.

“To me, there’s a fine line between protest and what’s going on in Minneapolis, and this,” Esquivel said.

KSAT 12 News reached out to the agency that oversees The Alamo:

The Alamo joins with Texans in expressing our outrage that anyone would desecrate as historic a monument as the cenotaph in such an offensive manner. As we condemn this vandalism, we salute the San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) for its swift action to investigate. We have worked in close cooperation with the SAPD to provide them with any assistance we can.The Alamo is working in concert with the City of San Antonio to develop and implement a plan to repair the damage as quickly and safely as possible. At the request of city officials, Alamo Conservator Pam Rosser will oversee the careful removal of the paint. Removing red paint from marble requires technical expertise to prevent any damage to the historic structure.This vandalism should not become a vehicle to advance one side or the other’s position on the proposal to repair and relocate the cenotaph. Today should be about unifying our resolve in support of The Alamo, the cenotaph and our respect for the history of Texas.

About the Authors:

Katrina Webber joined KSAT 12 in December 2009. She reports for Good Morning San Antonio. Katrina was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas. It's not unusual to find her singing karaoke or leading a song with her church choir when she's not on-air.

Tim has been a photojournalist and video editor at KSAT since 1998. He came to San Antonio from Lubbock, where he worked in TV and earned his bachelor's degree in Electronic Media and Communication from Texas Tech University. Tim has won a handful of awards and has earned a master's in Strategic Communication and Innovation from Tech as well.