Washington Monument restored after being vandalized with red paint

Crews began working to clean red paint and vulgar graffiti off of the Washington Monument Wednesday after a vandal defaced one of D.C.'s most iconic structures the night before.

By 2:44 p.m., the National Park Service announced via Twitter that the monument was clean. 

"Our team is good! Thanks to the Monument Preservation crew for their outstanding work," they tweeted. 

The vandalism was reported around 8 p.m. Tuesday. Officials took 44-year-old Shaun Ray Deaton of Bloomington, Indiana into custody and charged him with trespassing, tampering, and vandalism charges.

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National Parks Service Spokesperson Mike Litterst initially said cleanup will probably take several weeks and compared the damage to that which was caused in 2008 when vandals splattered green paint on the base of the Lincoln Memorial.

He said removing paint from marble can be difficult and expects multiple treatments to be needed.

"Anytime anyone vandalizes or defaces one of our memorials – disheartening is the immediate word that comes to mind," said Litterst. "We're fortunate to have a crew on staff that can take care of that and look forward to getting the monument back to its normal appearance very quickly."

On Thursday, the National Park Service tweeted that "a week of sunlight will also help return the moment to its usual impressive state."