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3 Ole Miss freshmen suspected in Meredith statue vandalism

OXFORD, Miss., Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Three University of Mississippi freshmen are responsible for vandalizing a statue of James Meredith, the first black student at Ole Miss, the school said.

Officials said Friday all three suspects are 19 and are from Georgia, CNN reported.

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In a statement, the university said the three did not report to campus police Thursday for questioning after being asked to do so.

James Meredith, now 80, enrolled at Ole Miss in 1962 after nine years in the U.S. Air Force and two as a student at historically black Jackson State University. U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy sent troops to the campus after students, joined by outside segregationists, held violent protests in which two people were killed.

This week, someone put a noose around the neck of the statue honoring Meredith and draped a Confederate flag over it. The university has offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the identity of the perpetrators.

"I'm shocked but not surprised by what happened," Judy Meredith, Meredith's wife, told CNN Thursday. "I'm surprised something didn't happen to the statue earlier."

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