'It just shakes you': Swastika burned into grass at veterans' memorial park

'It just shakes you': Swastika burned into grass at veterans' memorial park
Police are investigating who burned a Nazi symbol into the grass of a veterans' memorial park.

OMAHA, NE (KETV/CNN) – Police are trying to find out who burned a swastika into the ground at a public park honoring military veterans.

The incident is provoking outrage.

On the west side of Memorial Park in Omaha, NE, a tilled square of grass stands out from the tidy lawn around it.

A small American flag blows in the wind as freshly planted flowers attempt to bring some beauty to a place that was filled with hate Saturday, when Omaha Parks and Recreation workers found a large swastika burned into the grass.

"These people gave their lives to fight for that freedom and to liberate these people. And to do something at a park that is dedicated to those people is just, like, outrageously offensive," said Preston Blaine, an Omaha resident.

Parks and Recreation tilled up the ground around the symbol Sunday morning.

"It just shakes you. I don't understand, you know, what's behind it other than kind of an outpouring of hate," Bruce Horacek said.

It's not the first time neo-Nazi propaganda has appeared in the neighborhood.

Hateful books and fliers recently popped up, raising questions over whether the messages are all connected.

"I hope they are not, but who knows," Horacek said.

Some residents suspect other culprits.

"The people who are doing it are just doing it to try and cause a ruckus, probably," Kenny Kaczor said. "It's probably like some 16 to 18-year-old."

Whoever it is, community members said they don't represent the neighborhood's values.

"There's been so much outreach from other people about, you know, that's not what we're about as a community. We want to stick together." Allison Peters said.

Blaine agreed.

"This is a place that definitely welcomes all people," he said.

The Anti-Defamation League believes individuals, not organized groups, are behind the park incident.

The vandals could be charged with criminal mischief for the act.

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