LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police are investigating a pre-dawn attack that destroyed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame less than two weeks before the election.
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which bestows the stars and maintains the popular tourist attraction, said it would quickly repair Trump’s spot, but it would take several days before it would visible.
Det. Meghan Aguilar said investigators were called to the scene Wednesday following reports that the presidential candidate’s star was struck by blows from a hammer. A sledgehammer, construction hat and vest, and a pick were recovered nearby, Officer Sal Ramirez said.
A man who identified himself as Jamie Otis said he’s responsible for the damage, telling the website Deadline Hollywood that he originally intended to remove Trump’s star. He says he wanted to auction it off to raise funds for the 11 women accusing the presidential candidate of groping them. Trump has denied the groping allegations.
Aguilar said she was aware of the Deadline report but couldn’t comment on whether Otis is a suspect.
Trump’s star was dedicated in 2007 in recognition of his work on NBC’s reality TV show “The Apprentice.” Trump’s star is near the Dolby Theatre, where the Academy Awards are held each year.
To receive a star on the Walk of Fame, a celebrity has to be nominated and a $30,000 fee paid to a charitable trust.
It is at least the second time this year that Trump’s star has been targeted. In July, an artist installed a miniature wall topped with razor wire and “keep out” signs in response to Trump’s vow to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to stem illegal immigration and drug smuggling.
“When people are unhappy with one of our honorees, we would hope that they would project their anger in more positive ways than to vandalize a California State landmark,” Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Leon Gubler wrote in a statement. “Our democracy is based on respect for the law. People can make a difference by voting and not destroying public property.”