Mormon church vandalism in Shoreline investigated as possible hate crime

SHORELINE, Wash. — Hateful graffiti was spray-painted on the outside walls of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Shoreline over the weekend, and now it’s being investigated as a possible hate crime.

No one from the church was around Monday morning, but the graffiti was still on the walls and doors outside of the Mormon church on 30th Avenue NE.

A call about the vandalism came into the King County Sheriff's Office Saturday at 6 p.m., but it’s unclear when it happened.

Most of the graffiti is symbols, but one message says, "F%&# Mormons."

That alone could take it from a misdemeanor to a felony hate crime.

The Sheriff’s Office told KIRO 7 they would need to interview the suspects to determine if the crime reached the level of felony malicious harassment.

Eric Vogel, who showed up to the church for his regularly scheduled cleaning, found the graffiti.

“It should be a felony,” Vogel said.  “And they by all rights should put whoever did that in jail.  I mean, that reflects all of us, not just the people who did it.”

The church didn't have surveillance video of the vandalism, but detectives are now checking with neighbors' surveillance cameras to see if they caught anything.

KIRO 7 morning anchor John Knicely talked to one neighbor who didn't want to go on camera, but said she didn't see anything suspicious over the weekend and wasn't aware of any pattern of vandalism in the neighborhood.

“It's definitely not right,” Vogel said. “We definitely don't need that kind of thing in our neighborhoods.  That's what we're trying to get away from.”

If you know anything about who's responsible, call police.

“We are saddened by vandalism that occurs at any place of worship in our community. The church is working closely with local authorities as they pursue their investigation. Questions regarding the nature of the vandalism should be directed to local law enforcement,” said President Greg McCall, a local leader of congregations for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in North Seattle.

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