GATESVILLE, Texas – Gatesville Police have reported two teenagers have been arrested in connection with the vandalism of two African-American churches.
Police Chief Nathan Gohlke said 17-year-old Nickolas Harborth and a 15-year-old (whose name was not released because of his age) were arrested following an investigation into the painting of graffiti on the Mount Calvary Church of God in Christ.
“I really didn’t know what to think. I really didn’t know what somebody was thinking to do something of that magnitude,” says Kent Ford, Associate Pastor of Mount Calvary Church.
Across the street, Gohlke also said a rock was thrown through the window of Sweet Home Baptist Church.
“Just to see someone have hate in their heart. I know that’s not what everybody’s intentions. It really kind of bothered me,” says Rev. Bobby Cole, of Sweet Home Baptist Church.
Gatesville Police said the vandalism was believed to be done the evening of Tuesday, July 28th, or in the early morning hours of Wednesday, July 29.
Vandals spray-painted derogatory remarks to include a pentagram and the “Circle A,” which is a symbol of anarchy, on the face of the church. The 15-year-old was interviewed Thursday night with his parents, and was arrested on Friday night.
“They do need to be punished. Same time, hopefully they learn from this,” says Ford.
The Reverend of Sweet Home Baptist Church is keeping faith.
“All we can do as a community, and as a people, is to remain prayerful of these times,” says Cole.
The two teenagers will face charges of Criminal Mischief over $750 to a place of worship, a 3rd Degree Felony.