Anthony Ray Gonzalez arrest photo
HOLLISTER — On a day in which NFL players expressed solidarity for the country and victims of the September 11th, 2001 attacks, one man took exception to the American flags a local Boy Scout displayed along the streets of San Benito and South Street.
At around 5pm on Sunday, September 11th, police responded to the area after reports of a man slashing at American flag memorials. The caller described the man as Hispanic and wearing a Giants baseball jersey and grey shorts, and said he was carrying a knife.
Witnesses took pictures of the man, whom Hollister PD Officer Yerena recognized as a local transient who’d been seen earlier that day. Officer Yerena located the man, identified as 33-year-old Anthony Ray Gonzalez, walking on Sixth Street still wearing the same clothes given in the witness descriptions.
Gonzalez was found to be in possession of a knife, and three flags were found vandalized.
The flags had been placed in the downtown area by Boy Scout Troop 777. Police contacted the scout leader and he determined that a total of ten flags had been vandalized in a similar manner. The downtown camera system also captured the vandalism near 7th and San Benito. The suspect then proceeded to vandalize the flags in front of the Veteran’s Building.
Gonzales was cited and released for misdemeanor vandalism. Back in November, he was also suspected of slashing holiday lights on San Benito Street and cited for cutting the phone line to a church.