BREAKING: Trump's Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame Destroyed With Pickaxe
HOLLYWOOD, CA — July 26, 2018
A young man has destroyed President Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with a pickaxe, which he concealed in a guitar case.
A vandalism suspect identified as Austin Clay, 24, surrendered to Beverly Hills police shortly after the incident, the Los Angeles Police Department said.
Before that, private security officers in the area attempted to intervene but couldn’t stop the man because they don’t have police powers, Lt. Karen Leong of the LAPD’s Hollywood Division said.
“I think they did the best they could,” she added.
However, about an hour later, Clay called the police and announced he wanted to turn himself in and added, "See you soon," Lt. Karen Leong of the LAPD's Hollywood Division told the Los Angeles Times.
According to witnesses, a man removed the pickaxe from a guitar case about 3 a.m. and began swinging it at the star on Hollywood Boulevard, located in front of the Hollywood & Highland Center. Chunks of concrete were left strewn across the sidewalk.
The motive for Wednesday's incident is unknown.
Bond was set at $20,000, according to jail records. An initial court date was not indicated in jail records and it was not immediately clear whether he has an attorney.
Leron Gubler, President-CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce said there appears to be security camera video of the vandalism. Repairs are expected to begin immediately but usually requires several days. During past Walk of Fame vandalism cases, stars have been covered to protect them during the work.
"The Hollywood Walk of Fame is an institution celebrating the positive contributions of the inductees," he said. "When people are unhappy with one of our honorees, we would hope that they would project their anger in more positive ways than to vandalize a California State landmark. Our democracy is based on respect for the law. People can make a difference by voting and not destroying public property."
Many visitors supported the statement.
"I just think it's wrong," said visitor Greg Donovan. "If they don't like the president, they can show it in a different way."
Donald Trump’s star completely destroyed along the Hollywood walk of fame. pic.twitter.com/b1bpLhmG2X— Ryan Parker (@TheRyanParker) July 25, 2018
Witness David Palmer said he was surprised to see the Walk of Fame vandalism taking place right in front of him.
"I'm like, 'Why are you hitting that star? What did Donald Trump do to you?'" he said. "Then he went around the corner and I think he left."
"We came here a few days ago and there was some graffiti on it," said tourist Josh Kallen. "We didn't think anything like this would happen."
In November 2016, days before the presidential election, Trump's star was similarly vandalized by a man dressed as a construction worker who used a sledgehammer and pickaxe. That man said he was protesting Trump's treatment of women. He was caught on video bashing the star with a sledgehammer. He was eventually charged with felony vandalism.
Also, in 2016, the star was defaced by graffiti and surrounded by an artist's six-inch-high wall, which was supposed to represent a then-candidate Trump's border wall proposal.
Walk of Fame star recipients are selected by a committee that considers hundreds of applications each year. The stars are purchased for $30,000, rather than gifted.