The Oceanside Police Department and the FBI are investigating death threats against a popular Oceanside musician over her sexual orientation.
The hate crime comes at a time when tens of thousands of San Diegans are celebrating Pride week and fighting against injustice in the LGBT community.
The woman targeted, Celeste Barbier, said she hopes to use her experience to educate others.
“There were threats to stalk me, follow me home, kill me and my wife, to put bullets in our head, to rape us,” said Barbier.
She’s a singer and a songwriter and has been performing in San Diego County for more than 10 years. The threatening emails were sent to her through her professional website.
“What do you do for a hate crime? I’ve never been a victim of a hate crime. I don’t know how to respond to this,” she remembered thinking.
So, she called the Founder and Executive Director of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center, Max Disposti.
“Unfortunately, this is not the first time that our community has been targeted by threats,” Disposti said.
He advised Barbier to file a police report. Shortly after the FBI was involved. Disposti said this kind of hatred is what he’s been fighting against for years.
"The everyday reality is a reminder that a lot of work still needs to be done. It’s not just policy but understanding the changes that our society needs to endure in order to feel safe,” Disposti said.
Barbier said she is encouraging other victims to come forward if they’ve experienced similar situations.
“It shows us that we have a lot of minds and hearts to change, but you also see people who go out and change minds and hearts by using love and education to overcome ignorance,” Barbier said.
A sergeant with the Oceanside Police Department said FBI agents are working to find out where the email may have come from and if the threat could be linked to other threats across the country. If you have any information about the threats, you’re urged to call OPD.