Feb 13, 2011 11:13 PM by Chris Welty
Before Sunday morning's service at St. James Baptist Church in Lafayette members were shocked to see explicit graffiti spray painted on their church. KATC'S Chris Welty found out neighbors, and police are calling this act a hate crime.
"You wouldn't think people would stoop down that low...and then the n'word at that."
Neighbors of St. James Baptist Church in Lafayette are outraged after finding racially charged words spray painted on their building Sunday morning. Pastor Donald Washington says he never expected anything like this to happen in his neighborhood. "It doesn't speak of the kind of atmosphere that we live in here in Lafayette."
Officials with the Lafayette Police Department say vandals not only painted derogatory messages, but they also left threatening letters on the front door steps. Washington says, "We didn't want our young people to see that kind of display and plus some of the others may have been offended."
Church officials painted over the vandalism on the doors and walls of the church, but neighbors that we spoke with say they're going to need more than gray paint to put an end to what they're calling racism in their neighborhood.
Jacoby George says "Racism is still in effect. I just think it's horrible." "To see it portrayed this way I mean it was shocking to me, but it is still alive...not as much as it was before, but it is still alive."
Pastor Washington says although he believes racism is still around, it's something his congregation can overcome. "You can kind of walk through garbage sometimes if you have a goal and know what you are set to do and where you are going."
Investigators say that possibly three suspects driving a white SUV could be responsible for the vandalism and Washington says he wants the vandals to know..."God saw it all."
If you have any information on this crime, you are urged to call Crime Stoppers at 337-232-TIPS.