‘It’s just senseless’: families grieve after 150 headstones vandalized


Headstones destroyed at Lebanon Cemetery
Headstones destroyed at Lebanon Cemetery
Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 8:05 PM CDT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Dozens of Lebanon families have been grieving again after more than 150 headstones were vandalized on Saturday morning.

One man said he has been counting his blessings. This was just one of dozens of headstones stretched throughout Cedar Grove and Wilson County cemeteries now destroyed.

Ronnie Harris shared that all of his loved one’s graves were ruined except one. Every month he visits his family’s grave site, but this visit was unlike any other.

“I found aunts and uncles, and grandparents all their headstones turned over and it- it’s just unreal,” Ronnie Harris said.

Sam Crutchecher, the cemetery manager said the vandalism took place between Friday night and Saturday morning.

Police said two men were the cause of the mess.

Lebanon Police said 31-year-old Justin Emler and 23-year-old Jeremy Heaton damaged dozens of headstones and ran off.

“Later that Saturday evening they found the two individuals that were responsible for the act,” Cruthecher said.

Emler and Heaton were arrested, and each was charged with one count of vandalism.

“What was the point in all of this? It’s just senseless,” Harris said.

Harris said that he was just grateful for one thing.

“The only one they didn’t get was my dad’s right there that’s still standing,” Harris said.

For the last two days, hundreds of people have had to find out if their loved one’s graves were broken and disrespected.

“It’s just so sad for them to know that this has happened,” Harris said.

Cemetery workers said they plan to repair each and every headstone, but added that it will take time.

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