Church graffiti being investigated as possible hate crime in Paradise Hills
PARADISE HILLS (KUSI) – San Diego Police are searching for the suspects responsible for defacing multiple churches in Southeast San Diego with vulgar words and symbols.
In the heart of Paradise Hills, the United Church of Christ stood tall, welcoming all in their quaint community.
“It took a lot of guts to do this,” said Phillis Noiseaux, Moderator with the United Church of Christ Paradise Hills. “It took a lot of guts. Out of all the places on the church, it’s right up under our cross.”
Phillis stood in front of her place of worship puzzled and confused. She looked at disturbing graffiti that attacked her Christian faith. For example, there was an upside down cross, three sixes and profanity laced symbols. She added these are things that would normally seem taboo to anyone with a conscience.
“Disappointed. Disturbing,” said Phillis. “Out of all the work we’ve been doing this last year and fundraising, trying to make our community look better, it is disappointing to see that someone has targeted us.”
Just down the street, there is an elementary school, so students and parents are walking by every day, like Rolando and his son, Alex.
“They have to see this kind of stuff and the kids are asking, ‘Hey, what does this mean? Why is there an upside down cross,” said Rolando Regino, Resident of Paradise Hills. “You know, it’s disgusting.”
The folks at the United Church of Christ weren’t the only ones. Another church called the Church of Christ in Encanto, less than a mile and a half away, was also hit.
There were similar vulgar symbols and words in the same blue shade, but there was more of it. The words “Praise the Devil” lined the steps and anti Trump sayings hung from the walls.
Members of this church said they haven’t seen this before.
“We’re concerned these are possibly people who are hating the folks in the community that are trying to do God’s work,” said Elijah Scott, Youth Director of the Church of Christ in Encanto. “We will continue to do God’s work, regardless of this effort that they’re taking to diminish our faith in Christ.”
The members from both churches told KUSI regardless of the hate, regardless of how much this will cost, these vandals still have a place here.
“They’re welcome here. That’s all,” said Phillis. “I’m not upset. I’m just disappointed. I can rebuild here. I can restore this wall, but they are always welcome here on Sunday.”
The San Diego Police Department told KUSI they are now investigating this as a hate crime.