Woman charged in vandalism at National Cathedral

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Police in the nation’s capital arrested a woman Monday in connection with the splattering of paint in two locations inside the National Cathedral, a spokesman at the department said.

Tian Jiamel, 58, is charged with defacing property.

The arrest came after splashes of paint turned up on other landmarks in the nation’s capital, including the Lincoln Memorial.

Officials said it was not clear whether the paint discovered Monday at the National Cathedral and on a statue outside the Smithsonian Castle was related to the incident last week at the Lincoln Memorial, though all three locations were marred with green paint.

The arrest of the woman was related only to the National Cathedral incidents; police could not say if the same person was also responsible for the acts of vandalism at the other two sites.

A fourth landmark in Washington — Luther Place Memorial Church — was found with green paint Monday, but police did not link that incident to the others.

At the cathedral, located in Washington’s Northwest quadrant, the paint was discovered splattered on an organ console and casework inside the historic Bethlehem Chapel, located in the building’s lower level. A spokesman said the paint was wet when it was discovered. Paint was also found in the Children’s Chapel, located in the cathedral’s nave.

A search of the cathedral caused the popular tourist destination to close temporarily Monday afternoon.

Five miles south, on the National Mall, green paint was discovered on a statue outside the Smithsonian Institution Building, known widely as the “Castle.” Linda St. Thomas, the Smithsonian Institution’s chief spokeswoman, said the statue is of Joseph Henry, the first secretary of the federally administered group of museums.

St. Thomas said that the paint appeared similar to that found on the Lincoln Memorial and that the U.S. Park Police, which manage the National Mall, were determining whether the paint was the same.

It wasn’t immediately clear when the paint discovered at the Smithsonian Castle was found — St. Thomas said security guards first noticed it on Sunday afternoon, while Park Police Sgt. Paul Brooks said it was first reported on Friday.

Brooks said that his agency wasn’t able to determine how old the paint was and that it could have been on the statue for “a while.”

The incidents Monday came three days after the Lincoln Memorial was temporarily closed after green paint was discovered on the iconic Washington site. Vandals splashed the paint on the base of the statue of the 16th president overnight.