A Tucson man spray-painting political messages on his property’s wall on Election Day died in a clash with a passerby who mistook him for a vandal, police said.
Robert M. Norwood, 63, who loved the military but disliked President Trump, died at the scene of the Nov. 3 incident at South Calle Yucatán and East Golf Links Road.
The suspect, John Francis Hodson, 53, was booked into the Pima County jail on a manslaughter charge, the Tucson Police Department said.
Officer Frank Magos, a TPD spokesman, said the investigation is continuing, but so far there is “no indication the victim was targeted because of his political views.”
Norwood was known in his neighborhood for posting carefully stenciled messages, such as tributes to fallen members of the military, on a stretch of his block wall facing East Golf Links Road.
He also made it known he was not a fan of the president.
“I am ashamed at who this country is allowing to call himself com. in chief,” one stenciled wall message said, referencing the president’s status as commander in chief of the nation’s military.
But on Election Day, instead of stencils, Norwood was using a can of spray paint, which might have been why he was mistaken for a graffiti artist, Magos said.
TPD would not comment on the content or nature of the slogans.
An Arizona Daily Star reporter noted the following comments in spray paint:
“I have not watched 1 sec of this cluster (expletive deleted) election. But if u can’t c u should put this country before your party u are part of the problem not the solution,” it said.
“My family has (5) gen. in this. So far (6) lives lost in service to it. So don’t drive by waving your Trump flags,” the sprayed messages said.
Police said Norwood was spray-painting on the wall around 5:20 p.m. when Hodson approached and accused him of vandalism, touching off an argument that turned into a physical fight with both men wrestling on the ground.
Bystanders separated the men, and the victim was unresponsive by the time police and medics arrived.
A woman outside the victim’s home who said she was a relative declined to comment to the Star on Thursday.