‘An attack on our faith’: Fredericksburg churches feel targeted by vandalism

Crime

'It hurts my heart that anybody would do something like that'

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Police in Fredericksburg are still looking for a vandal who broke windows at two historically black churches downtown.

Police are investigating both crimes as vandalisms, but investigators say they aren’t giving either case less attention than they would a hate crime.

The suspect was caught on camera hurling a brick at Shiloh Baptist Church on Princess Anne Street, breaking two windows.

“After we talked about it and saw the damage, we knew it was someone who was angry or out to do some damage,” Judith Alston, Chairman of the Trustee Board said. “First, we love the Lord, and we love that person. It hurts my heart that anybody would do something like that.”

Less than a half-mile away, another church which shares the same name — Shiloh Baptist on Sophia Street — was also damaged after someone threw a brick through its window.

Both churches told 8News they feel like it was an act of hate.

“We feel like it’s an attack on our faith, on our people, and what the black church has meant to our people and moving us forward,” Chairman of the Trustee Ministry for the Sophia Street church, Buster Nelson, added.

The Shiloh Baptist Church on Sophia Street is the oldest African-American church in Fredericksburg. Nelson said his congregation feels targeted.

“Their actions will not divide us or cause us to retaliate in the way they express their hate,” he said.

Police are still looking for the person responsible and offering a cash reward for any information that leads to an arrest.

Alston said she hopes the vandal does the right thing.

“I would pray that that person would have a conscience and turn himself in,” she said. “We don’t want to have him sit in jail for the rest of his days, but we do want him to understand what he did was wrong.”

SURVEILLANCE VIDEO: Suspect hurls rock through church window

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