The vandalism of an Italian Catholic church in Los Angeles is now being investigated as a hate crime.
A banner, which read “STOP COLONIZING OUR LAND,” was found on the front steps of the St. Peter’s Italian Catholic Church, and graffiti on the sidewalk spelled out “Land Back,” “USA” and “Stolen Land,” according to police. Bursts of red paint were also left on the steps and front facade of the church, and a gold-specked mosaic was seen on top of the doors.
Det. Suzanne Reed of the Los Angeles Police Department’s major crimes division confirmed to The Hill on Tuesday that the graffiti discovered at the church is now being examined as a hate crime.
St. Peter’s was established in 1994 and reportedly conducts masses in English, Spanish and Italian.
Officers responded to a vandalism report at the 1000 block of North Broadway on Monday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Reed said she believes the vandalism is connected to Indigenous Peoples Day, which was celebrated on Monday. She pointed to the verbiage written at the scene.
Church officials, however, said they are not yet able to say if the incident was connected to the holiday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
LAPD Officer Jeff Lee said there are no suspects in the case yet, according to the Times.
“We pray for all the people who suffer discrimination and isolation, so that they can find peace in their hearts, and we can live in harmony and peace,” the church said in a statement, according to KTLA5.
“Our parish is a home of prayer and encounter, where everyone is welcome to find GOD. We forgive and look forward to having the strength to do GOD’s will,” the church added.