CONCORD, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. monument in Concord was vandalized over the weekend, and a suspect is being sought, Concord Police said Monday.

Officers responded to calls regarding the incident on Cabarrus Avenue West around 11:34 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, where the monument was found to be spray painted. Robert Neal, a community activist, would like to see the city add more security to protect the area.

“Gate it off, add more lighting and use a camera system,” Neal said.

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It is unknown if it was an individual or a group of people, Concord Police said. On Monday evening, police said they believe two individuals may have witnessed the crime or witnessed suspects fleeing the area.

The monument was first dedicated in 2009, and by 2010, it had already been vandalized by an 18-year-old accused of shooting paintballs at the concrete structure. At that time, police did not believe bias or hate was the motivation for the crime.

“They should have made a correction back then,” Neal said. But now it’s the second time the next time it might be a little bit more hatred in it. It was easy to clean up this time.”

Queen City News spoke to an investigator on the scene who said this case would be hard to crack because of the lack of cameras and clues.

“The Martin Luther King Jr. Monument is a symbol of hope and justice, and the desecration of this cherished memorial has no place in our city,” said Mayor Bill Dusch. “The Concord Police Department is working to catch whoever is responsible, and we implore anyone with information to contact police.”

The city said crews worked swiftly to restore the monument. The majority of the paint has been washed away, but officials say additional detail work is needed on the porous natural surface of the monument to erase all the damage. 

Officials say the city is taking additional measures to monitor the monument but would not elaborate on what exactly is happening.

Police ask that individuals who were traveling through the Cabarrus Avenue traffic circle at the MLK Monument between 10:15 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. Saturday to call Sgt. Gary Mearite at 704-920-5000.

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“We are saddened to learn that the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. monument on Cabarrus Avenue was vandalized in Concord over the weekend,” Dr. Kimberly Lewter, Chari of MLK planning committee, said. “While it is our hope that the person or persons who committed this egregious act are identified and face justice, we want this to be a just reason to reflect on Dr King’s legacy even more.”

City officials did not say whether they plan to offer a reward for any information that leads to an arrest in this case, but Neal believes it’s a necessary step to get answers.

“Put a reward out, a good reward, and people will talk, and you will find out who done it,” Neal said.