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Elliot Baez accused of defacing 9/11 memorial in Coney Island

The Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance at MCU Park

The Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance at MCU Park in Coney Island Photo Credit: Flickr/Wally Gobetz

The New York City Police Department Saturday arrested a homeless man in women's clothes for vandalizing a Sept. 11 memorial honoring fallen emergency responders, officials said.

Elliot Baez, 58, was charged with third-degree criminal mischief for allegedly smearing the Coney Island memorial with white paint early Friday.

Detectives identified Baez after a tipster recognized him from a surveillance video showing what appeared to be a woman defacing the memorial, said Officer Sophia Mason, an NYPD spokeswoman.

Baez made incriminating statements to detectives, but his motive was unclear, Mason said.

He is accused of vandalizing the MCU Park Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance sometime between 2:38 a.m. and 2:55 a.m. on Friday.

The memorial has the names and laser-engraved images of hundreds of firefighters, police officers and other first responders who died when terrorist-hijacked jetliners crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Among the vandalized portraits is one of Officer Moira Smith of the 13th Precinct, who was killed after repeatedly rushing into the doomed Twin Towers. Smith, whose husband and daughter live in East Hampton, was the only female NYPD officer who died on Sept. 11.

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