SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Tyler Kays was given the U.S. flag after being discharged from the Army in 2012.
He survived an IED that went off causing him to be honorable discharged. He said the flag was a reminder of his military service and he brought it home.
Friday night, someone broke into his garage where his flag was hanging and defaced it with an expletive.
“When someone defaces something that is very personal to me,” Kays said. “(Maybe they’re) anti-military. I don’t know who can do that.”
Web Extra: Tyler Kays describes the moment he was attacked
The flag is a precious item that Kays holds dear to his heart.
“The flag means to me more than anything that I have,” he said. So when I saw that it was more of a shock.”
The defaced flag still hangs in his garage. He wants to restore the flag but is unsure if the spray paint will come off. He wants to fix it because of its meaning.
“I wish to God I could still be with my men,” Kays said. “But that was taken away from me. But that flag is something i earned.”
But Saturday night, Kays said the same intruder may have struck again.
He said he heard noises coming from the garage.
“There was a guy right here, pouring gas over everything,” he said. “When I first noticed him, I tackled him.”
But he said that’s when he felt bailing wire across his neck. There was a second intruder who was attempting to strangle him.
“He told the other guy to pour the gasoline on me,” said Kays. “And he started lighting it right after that.”
Kays said there was no spark coming from the lighter. He and the person holding the wire to his throat fell to the ground and Kays broke free and grabbed the lighter.
He said the two took off running. He’s convinced they were there the night before.
The vet called police and filed a report. but so far there are no suspects.
“I am not going to sit here pretend, or hope that they’re not going to come back,” Kays said. “I’m going to take measures in case they do come back that keeps my property, my family safe.”