Roberto Clemente mural defaced at Orlando school

By Daniel Dahm, Managing Editor of ClickOrlando.com, ddahm@clickorlando.com
Published On: Feb 13 2014 09:10:46 AM EST
Updated On: Feb 13 2014 01:39:46 PM EST

A mural in Azalea Park honoring Roberto Clemente was vandalized, covering his likeness.

AZALEA PARK, Fla. -

Police on Thursday continue to investigate after vandals defaced a mural at an Orlando school.

The Roberto Clemente mural at the baseball field at Azalea Park Elementary School was painted over, prompting the investigation. 

Clemente is a Hall of Fame baseball player who died in a 1972 plane crash while delivering aid to Nicaraguan earthquake victims.  The mural of the Puerto Rican star, created in 2011, served as a symbol of strength and pride in the community. 

The Azalea Park Little League board fears the vandalism could have been done by a disgruntled donor whose team was recently kicked off the field.  Local 6 reached out to the donor but has not heard back.

"You can see that the mural has been selectively painted over. It's not like they painted the building. This was an intentional (act) over that specific graphic," said neighbor Todd Catella, who lives a block away.

Catella said he wanted to see the mural -- or what's left of it.

"It is very sad that this is happening," he said.  "For the community, this was a point of pride, a special painter did this about a special baseball player,"

The well-known artist who painted the original mural was flown in from New York and has already been contacted about restoring the painting, but the nonprofit Little League organization has to raise money for his return.

The artist has contacted his lawyer over concerns that the vandals violated copyright laws. 

Two men in a brown pickup truck were seen painting over the black and red figure, but have not been located.

Orlando police say detectives have not determined if a crime was committed.

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