Vandals damage disabled veteran's car in west Houston

September 24, 2013 4:14:53 AM PDT
A disabled veteran is trying to figure out how he'll fix his car after being targeted by vandals.

Hector Cortez says he discovered his car covered in spray paint on Sunday morning. The vandals wrote vulgar words and racial slurs all over it.

The former Marine says he doesn't believe he was randomly targeted because his car was the only one defaced on the block.

At just 28, Cortez has had a lot of life experiences. The combat veteran was a Marine during the Iraq War.

"The hardest challenge that you can imagine," he said.

He's disabled after suffering from severe PTSD. And as we asked him to explain that, we were interrupted.

"You hear that? Prime example. For everyday people, that sound is just a gentleman moving a ladder. For a veteran, that's a sound of machine gun rounds hitting the deck," he said.

His service dog, Rusty, is always by his side to help with those anxious moments -- like Sunday morning, when he never expected words to wound him the way they did.

"The entire driver's side was painted over with derogatory words," Cortez said.

It's so offensive we can't publish it, and for Cortez...

"I will not repeat those words," he said.

He describes the embarrassment neighbors have tried to help him clean off.

"A very, very racial slander painted right here directed towards the African American community and then a slander above it directed to the Hispanic community," Cortez said.

He gets by on his military pension.

"It's not a Mercedes Benz, it's not a $50,000, $60,000 vehicle, but it's something I had to work hard, save up for," Cortez said.

And while he believes he was specifically targeted, he says he won't let them win.

"They can hit me with all they've got, I've survived war," Cortez said.

Houston police are investigating the case as criminal mischief.

Find Christine on Facebook at ABC13ChristineDobbyn or on Twitter at @christinedobbyn

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