FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Members of a Fresno church say they feel targeted after someone smashed more than two dozen windows causing $10,000 in damage.
Church leadership says they feel they are victims of a hate crime because they serve members of the LGBTQ community.
Members of our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Central Fresno are spending Wednesday picking up broken pieces of glass after more than 25 windows were smashed Tuesday morning between the church’s main hall and Sunday school.
Rosio Stoll serves on the church’s board. She believes the church was targeted for its beliefs.
“The reason we feel targeted and actually assaulted in this manner is because our church is LGBTQ in gender and diverse identification,” said Stoll.
In the shards of broken glass, they found a sticker from the hate group “proud boys.”
The church says this latest act of vandalism is just one instance in a long line of aggression toward the church. They say it started after they held a drag festival which sparked protest in December.
“The Fresno drag festival was a family-friendly event and since December we have been having a lot of emails and phone calls of threats,” Stoll explained.
Leaders say church activities will still go on as planned despite having to board up the broken windows.
The church is hoping Fresno police can catch those responsible as they’re on the line to fix the $25,000 in damages.
While the church believes they are victims of a hate crime the Fresno Police Department says the sticker left behind isn’t enough evidence to show proof.
“There are definitely some parameters that need to be met before we classify something as a hate crime all we have right now is the vandalism we don’t have anything that would help us identify it as a hate crime,” Said Diana Vega with the Fresno Police Department.
The church says they’re grateful that people have been reaching out in support and any donations are welcomed to help them cover the damages.