9/11 Victim’s Family Calls Vandalism of Inwood Memorial ‘Disturbing’

By Nigel Chiwaya DNAinfo

Lt. Joseph Leavey, FDNY

Lt. Joseph Leavey, FDNY

INWOOD — A relative of a firefighter killed on 9/11 decried the recent vandalism of an Inwood September 11 memorial, calling the Thanksgiving night spray-paint attack “disturbing.”

The brother-in-law of FDNY Lt. Joseph Leavey, who was killed in the terror attacks and had an honorary stone in the defaced Good Shepherd Church’s memorial garden, called the vandalism an act of malice.

“It’s hard to believe that anyone would bother a church,” Tim Sumner said of the paint-wielding vandals. “It’s just the maliciousness of people who are indifferent to the feelings of others.”Leavey was a 19-year veteran of the FDNY and was with Ladder 15 on the day of the attacks. Ladder 15 had made it to the 78th floor of the South Tower when the building collapsed.

The western intersection of Broadway and West 212th Street is named after Leavey, as is one of the memorial stones in Good Shepherd’s garden.

The stones were untouched by the vandals on Nov. 28, but the wall behind them was found covered in yellow spray paint.

Sumner, 60, said he’s going try to help the church get a security system.

“They can damage this but we’ll rebuild it,” he said. “We’re not going to let malicious people destroy the memory of good people that we loved.”

Sumner, a Pennsylvania resident who was married at the church, was alerted to the vandalism by relatives. He has since notified another 9/11 family and he said word is making its way to others.

Police are still investigating the vandalism, which City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez denounced on Tuesday as an affront to the city.

“Such senseless acts of vandalism have no place in Northern Manhattan,” Rodriguez said. “It is utterly unacceptable and entirely uncharacteristic of what this community stands for, and I expect the perpetrators to be found and punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

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