Suspect charged in Space Shuttle Independence vandalism

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by KHOU.com staff

khou.com

Posted on January 9, 2014 at 8:05 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 9 at 11:11 PM

HOUSTON—The Harris County Precinct 8 Constable’s Office has filed charges against
a 19-year-old man in connection with vandalism to the mock Space Shuttle Independence.

Jesse Ray Calloway, of Houston, was indentified through an anonymous tip from Crime Stoppers.

On Nov. 27 2013, visitors found racial and political graffiti on one side of the full-size space shuttle replica outside Space Center Houston.

“Houston we are the problem,” was among the writing on the side of Space Shuttle Independence.

The graffiti included at least one racial slur along with other offensive messages. Black paint was also sprayed on part of the structure that holds up the replica.

A tour bus operator was among the first to discover the vandalism as he dropped off visitors that morning.

The replica shuttle, once named Explorer, arrived in Houston in June 2012 after being on display at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida since 1994.

Houston, which has deep ties to the nation’s space program and is home to Johnson Space Center and Mission Control, unsuccessfully tried to land one of NASA’s four retired space shuttles.

Considered a consolation prize of sorts, Explorer was renamed Independence after it arrived in Houston.

Investigators believe other suspects were involved and are asking anyone with additional information in this case to come forward.

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