SOUTHINGTON — Two people face charges after police said they spray painted a mural honoring victims of the Sandy Hook shooting along the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail.
Lorenzo Cavallo, 20, of 28 Hemingway St., Plainville, and Gina Lombardi, 21, of 211 Morningside Dr., Bristol, were charged Tuesday with first-degree criminal mischief and conspiracy to commit first-degree criminal mischief.
Police responded to a report of vandalism at the detached garages at 245 Summer St., on Nov. 28, 2020 about 9:30 a.m., Lt. Keith Egan said in a statement. The owner previously donated the back of the building for a mural painted in remembrance of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting in 2012. The owner of the building said he was extremely bothered and upset by the incident.
“Although there have been incidents in the past, vandals in this incident were the first to deface the actual memorial mural,” Egan said.
Egan said the vandals, later identified as Cavallo and Lombardi, used spray paint to cover the mural, including butterflies that represent the victims. The phrases “who do the police help but themselves” and and “not safe” were spray painted on the mural. On the side of the building, phrases including “(Expletive) the police,” and “repaint this” were spray painted, according to a police report.
Police noted there were names mentioned in some of the phrases that provided a connection to Cavallo and Lombardi.
During an interview with police, Lombardi was apologetic, saying she didn’t know the significance of the mural and did not intentionally deface it. She was “frustrated with law enforcement over an incident in Plainville, felt helpless and had a bad knee jerk reaction,” Egan said.
She told police she partially vandalized the mural and said Cavallo was responsible for the additional graffiti. Police made several attempts to contact Cavallo during the investigation, but were unsuccessful.
Lombardi offered to clean the spray paint from the mural, but the owner told police he wanted to check with the Southington Art Council. The owner said the estimated cost to repair the mural would be about $2,500, in addition to another couple hundred dollars to remove the graffiti on the side of the building.
The internationally recognized artist who helped create the mural, Ryan Christenson, known as Arcy, returned last month to restore the artwork.
Cavallo and Lombardi were arraigned in New Britain Superior Court on Tuesday. Both were released on a promise to appear in court.