Vandals torched a bronze, life-size statue of Ronald Reagan in an apparent arson fire in a Southern California sports park named after the 40th president, The Press-Enterprise reported.
The 1-year-old statue was set ablaze at the Ronald Reagan Sports Park in Temecula, Calif. -- a park Reagan praised in the early 1980s because it was built through volunteerism and fundraising and not through government handouts. The statue shows the former president in casual clothing, holding a shovel in one hand and a cowboy hat in another.
The suspected arson was discovered around 7 a.m. Friday by a park worker.
"It’s an insult to the president as well as to the community," Perry Peters, founder of the nonprofit Friends of Ronald Reagan Sports Park, told the newspaper.
Authorities have not yet identified a suspect or a motive, according to the newspaper.
While the blackened statue still stands, the heat from the fire reportedly destroyed tiles from the decorative wall behind it.
The park, once named the Rancho California Sports Park, was named after Reagan in 2004. The former president had praised its building in a March 1983 speech to the U.S. Olympic Committee.
"The folks in a rather small town, Temecula .... got together and built themselves a sports park, held fund-raising barbecues and dinners," Reagan said. "And those that didn't have money, volunteered the time and energy. And now the young people of that community have baseball diamonds for Little League and other sports events, just due to what's traditional Americanism."
The Ronald Reagan Sports Park is accepting donations on its website to help repair the damaged tribute.
OKLAHOMA CITY – A 4.5-magnitude earthquake in central Oklahoma shook residents Saturday, just weeks after the two-year anniversary of the strongest earthquake ever recorded in the Sooner state.
The shaking is increasingly commonplace in the state, so after the initial surprise, customers at a central Oklahoma restaurant returned their attention to an in-state college football rivalry game.
Marty Doepke, general manager of Pops Restaurant in Arcadia, said there was no damage at the restaurant that's known for its selection of some 600 soft drinks — hundreds of which are displayed along shelves.