Breaking News
More () »

Suspect arrested for vandalizing Bellevue church in possible hate crime

The suspect is alleged to have caused at least $10,000 worth of damage.

BELLEVUE, Wash. — A 31-year-old suspect was arrested Tuesday morning on suspicion of a hate crime and assault after allegedly vandalizing a Bellevue church.

The church’s surveillance cameras caught the suspect smashing and spray painting an estimated $10,000 worth of damage at the church and its school.

"It's violent, it's an invasion rather than coming to a place hoping to feel peace," said Father Gary Zender with St. Louise Catholic Church.

“Whatever struggles they might have they're taking it all in and they don't know how to release it or how to deal with it, so it just piles up inside of them and then all of a sudden it comes out in this violent sort of way," said Zender.

Zender said the worst part of Tuesday morning's incident was when the suspect allegedly attacked one of the church's employees.

"The individual lunged toward him, tried to hit him with a rock, and he was able to dodge that rock and then he lunged toward him and spray painted him on the right side of his face, in his ear and on his shirt," said Zender.

The employee wasn't injured, and police said they arrested the suspect a few blocks away just moments after the employee called 911. Zender understands tensions are high within our country, especially after the Supreme Court's recent decision regarding abortion rights, but hopes people will use this time to come together and to avoid division that can lead to violence.

"We just need to be as compassionate and understanding as we can toward people who feel anger about these things and also make sure that people and property are protected," said Zender.

According to the Bellevue Police Department, there have already been six hate crimes in Bellevue this year. A spokesperson with the department said there were 11 all of last year.

Before You Leave, Check This Out