Shaun Ray Deaton, 44, of Bloomington, Indiana, was arrested at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, the U.S. park police said in a statement Wednesday.
The man splattered red paint and wrote a profane message on the base of the monument, police said.
“Deaton was charged with trespassing, tampering and vandalism (36 CFR2.31). This is an initial criminal charge and, as the investigation progresses, additional charges may follow,” the USPP statement said.
Work by National Park Service restorers has begun to remove the paint, and park police have asked anyone with information about the incident to call their tipline at (202) 379-4877 or [email protected].
“The top coat of paint is peeling and the pigment that has seeped into the stone will be treated with many rounds of cleaning products,” the National Park Service’s National Mall unit said on Twitter on Wednesday.
After years of construction and repairs, the Washington Monument is reopening to the public.
The monument was open again on Wednesday morning.
The iconic 555-foot obelisk on the National Mall honors George Washington, the country’s first president.