LANCASTER (CBS) — Anti-gay graffiti was found spread across a high desert neighborhood and now the hunt is on for the vandals behind the hateful and violent messages.
The vandalism happened outside the Texas Cattle Company on 10th Street in Lancaster. Sheriff deputies are asking for help from the public in finding those responsible for the discriminating words, which were scrawled on three walls and two utility boxes overnight.
The words “Kill All Gays” were written on two of the areas. Police believe the crime was committed at random and is not directed at a particular business or individual.
A graffiti task force had covered the messages up by the time most residents had woken up, but many are still alarmed.
“It does create initially a little bit of fear, but more than that it just makes one more vigilant about their surroundings,” said Rev. Hilda Brooks at the Center for Spiritual Living.
Brooks said hate crimes like this one are rare in Lancaster, but they do say it comes when the gay community was spotlighted nationally. A historic vote by the New York Legislature on Friday made the state the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage.
“A great time of celebration for us and I feel like the kind of people who have to go out and perpetuate that kind of violence are really only showing their own fear of something that they don’t know anything about,” she said.
Detectives are checking surveillance video from nearby businesses and are asking for help from anyone who may have seen the crimes take place. They’re asking for any witnesses to step forward.
Deputies said because the incident is a hate crime, which is a felony, anyone found guilty could serve up to six years in prison.