SAN ANTONIO – Vandals attack a statue honoring a fallen San Antonio police officer.
Officer Eddie Gorrell was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1988.
Gorrell Park, on De Zavala just east of Vance Jackson, is named in his memory.
Artist Gilbert Barrera lovingly carved eight tons of limestone with a hammer and chisel into a 16-foot-tall statue to stand in the north side park.
"She's very, very beautiful,” he says.
She’s called “The Letter” – a name, Officer Gorrell’s widow tearfully told the artist is, by coincidence, all too fitting.
"A letter that the five-year-old daughter had written when she learned of her daddy's death,” Barrera explains. “Basically, the letter was asking, why did my daddy have to die?"
Now, in the heart of Gorrell Park, she’s shrouded in blue tarp.
"It only takes these mischief-makers three or four seconds to destroy three years of dedication that I did, and a life of dedication that the police officer Eddie Gorrell did,” Barrera says.
Within a few days, taggers wrote swear words and carved gang signs into her features.
"Then they started throwing stones at her,” Barrera says.
On behalf of Officer Gorrell’s family, Barrera and his family reached out to city leaders.
"She's vulnerable every night,” Barrera says.
He says the police chief is looking into moving the statue to a different area.
But Barrera thinks if the city wants to keep the statue in the park, there are some easy things that can be done right now to protect it from vandals
"They're not closing the gate at night,” he says. “We need at least three or four 24-hour lights out here. We need brush cleared."
And he’s asking the public to learn why we dedicated a whole park to Officer Gorrell.
"They're throwing stones at the sacrifice of a man who took a bullet for them,” Barrera says.