ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Vandals damaged the New Mexico Holocaust Museum and Gellert Center for Education on Thursday just as the burial of congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis was being televised from Atlanta. Museum executive director Leon Natker told the Albuquerque Journal the large window of the downtown Albuquerque museum was shattered.
Behind the window was a large photo of an early 1960s civil rights march, part of a movement in which Lewis was a leader. “It can’t be a coincidence that it happened just as the funeral of John Lewis was being broadcast on television,” said Natker. “It was a hit-and-run, and it was done by a coward.”
No arrests have been made. The window, which cost about $1,000 to replace, was made with safety film, preventing shards of glass from spraying into the museum, located on the historic Route 66.
The museum was closed at the time for renovations. Lyn Berner, the museum’s director of administration, was the only person in the building between 12:15 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. when the window is believed to have been shattered.
“My office is way in the back and I didn’t hear it, and while we have security cameras they don’t point out into the street,” she said. “It looked like someone took a hammer or a baseball bat and smacked the window.”
Natker said that a security gate across the front of the building will be installed by the end of the week. The museum is expected to reopen on Sept. 1.
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