HOUSTON, Texas–Over the weekend, vandals in Dallas painted “666” in red on various buildings, including a church known to be frequented by gay and lesbian individuals. The Dallas Police Department (DPD) told Breitbart Texas that the suspects are still at-large.
Specifically, the vandals tagged: the Legacy of Life Monument, which honors individuals who died from AIDs; the Cathedral of Hope, which is known to be attended by Dallas’ gay population; an overpass at the Dallas North Tollway; the buildings of the Dallas Observer and Dallas Morning News papers.
A spokeswoman from the DPD told Breitbart Texas that because two of the vandalized sites are related to the gay community, Dallas police are treating the incident as a hate crime.
“I’m a gay member of this community. I’m very concerned about the safety of our community,” one man told News Fix DFW. “That kind of marking has no place here.”
“We’re not angry, we’re disappointed,” a pastor at the Cathedral of Hope added. “We’re praying for people who disagree with us. There are more mature ways to engage in conflict.”
Detective Kevin Janse with the Dallas police told local media outlet KENS 5 that there is no surveillance video showing the suspects. He said, “We’re hoping somebody saw something — whether it’s a vehicle, a person walking down the street with a backpack. We’ll start with the smallest of leads or tips.”
The DPD released a statement on the incident that said, “A hate crime is defined as an offense that is motivated by hatred or prejudice due to race, color, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religion of the victim. The individual or group often commits the act/acts during a time that has significance to the group that is being targeted. For example, June was Gay Pride Month, and the offenses were committed during the month of June. Also, depending on the amount of damages, these charges could be upgraded to a felony on some cases.”
If found guilty, the vandals could face up to 12 years in jail–two years for targeting a place of worship and 10 years for committing a hate crime.
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.