A man is facing charges after authorities say he vandalized a fallen firefighter's memorial near Lompoc, an incident that has left local officials "disheartened."
The California Highway Patrol says officers were called to Highway 246 near Purisima Road at around 6:45 p.m. Monday to reports of a man throwing bricks at passing cars while wearing a firefighter's hat.
The responding officer says he found a man matching the description a short distance away, just east of Cebada Canyon Road and near the roundabout, and also found a firefighter's boot with a vase inside in the road along with a large pieces of glass that appeared to have come from the memorial for Ryan Osler.
The 38-year-old Ventura County firefighter was killed in a crash near the roundabout while responding to a fire at Vandenberg Air Force Base in September of 2016.
CHP says they arrested the 33-year-old vandalism suspect Monday night for misdemeanor public intoxication along with felony vandalism of a memorial.
The suspect reportedly lives in Ventura County but has no permanent residence, according to officers, who say they do not know why he was in the Lompoc area. His name has not yet been released.
CHP calls the incident "disheartening to see."
Osler's wife, Jennifer, posted in a local Facebook forum Tuesday morning that she had been made aware of what happened at the memorial for her late husband and thanked the community for the love and support they have showed her and her family now and over the last three years.
Crews from the Vandenberg Fire Department tell KSBY News they are working with other firefighters and local and state officials to install a permanent memorial at the site for Osler.
As of Tuesday morning, CHP said no driver's had reported their vehicles being hit by bricks the previous night.
Officers are following up with witnesses and ask anyone with information to contact the Buellton CHP office at (805) 688-5551.