NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - A Long Island teenager is accused of vandalizing a stone memorial commemorating a Navy SEAL who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005.
Suffolk County Police arrested a 14-year-old Ronkonkoma boy on Friday morning for allegedly damaging the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial.
The circular stone memorial was shattered into fragments. The park was dedicated on May 7, 2006, on what would have been Murphy's 30th birthday. Murphy, who was a Suffolk County native, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Operation Red Wings.
Authorities charged the boy second-degree criminal mischief. He was scheduled to be arraigned at Family Court on a later date. His name was not released.
Lt. Murphy's family isn't looking to see the teen punished, Fox 5's Jodi Goldberg reported. Instead, they hope to meet him and his family.
"Michael was the type of person who would have wanted to take that man under his wing and talk to him," Daniel Murphy, Lt. Murphy's father, said, "and express and explain to him the significance of his actions."
The shattered memorial was removed on Friday morning. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that the state would pay to replace the memorial.
"I am appalled and disgusted by this apparent act of vandalism," Cuomo said. "The people of this state and this nation owe Lieutenant Murphy a debt of gratitude, and I personally thank him for his service."
"People say it's a trouble world and everything but honestly, one person makes it tragic and then a whole community tries to fix it up," Maureen Murphy, Lt. Murphy's mom, said.
Murphy was the leader of a four-man SEAL team on a reconnaissance mission behind enemy lines in Afghanistan when on June 28, 2015, they encountered dozens of Taliban fighters. Badly outnumbered, the SEAL team managed to fight off the enemy for about 2 hours before all but one SEAL was dead.
In 2011, the Navy christened the guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy in his honor.
The 2013 movie Lone Survivor dramatized the events of the doomed operation. It was based on the memoir written by Marcus Lutrell, the SEAL who survived the mission.