San Diego

Tagging at Chula Vista Church Being Investigated as Possible Hate Crime

A Chula Vista church was tagged with graffiti in what is being investigated as a possible hate crime, according to the Chula Vista Police Department. 

Vulgar phrases and satanic symbols were spray painted onto the outer walls of South Bay Pentecostal Church at about 3 a.m. on Sunday, CVPD said.

The act is being investigated as a hate crime because it occurred at a religious institution, according to CVPD.

South Bay Pentecostal Church's Executive Pastor, Amado Huizar, thinks they were targeted because of the church's recent opposition to "Drag Queen Storytime," an event at a South Bay library where drag queens read books to children. 

"We've stood up the last several weeks to share our concern regarding the upcoming drag queen story hour," Huizar said. "We feel that maybe, perhaps, those two are connected."

CVPD told NBC 7 there is no direct connection between the tagging at the church and the event at the library. 

The organization helping to host Drag Queen Storytime, the South Bay Alliance, said if the vandalism was "extremely inapporipriate."

"It has no place in any political dialogue. I sincerely hope it was not in response to their position on the storytime, but if it was, it is extremely inappropriate," the statement said. 

Huizar said, either way, he was "heartbroken" when he got a phone call about the vandalism. 

"We did not paint over [the grafitti]. We're waiting for the investigation to be complete," he said, but said volunteer parishioners would cover the tagging before more people arrived for Sunday service. 

No arrests have been made but police said two people were spotted on surveillance video lingering around the building and taking off in a four-door sedan. 

Huizar said the video showed two men exiting their dark-colored sedan with backpacks and spray cans at about 3 a.m. 

Anyone with information about the incident was asked to call the Chula Vista Police Department. 

The pastor said he thinks it’s because they spoke out against the drag queen story times. NBC 7’s Lauren Coronado has the story.
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