After a protracted standoff with Atlanta police, a suspect who allegedly vandalized a rainbow crosswalk with a Nazi symbol was taken into custody.
A SWAT team deployed on Friday afternoon to the apartment complex where the suspect lived when he reportedly wouldn’t come out when requested by police.
He eventually exited the apartment on his own at about 5 p.m. local time, and cops arrested him at the scene without incident.
“According to Atlanta police, investigators went around 12 p.m. to the apartment of the suspect believed to have spray-painted a swastika onto the rainbow crosswalk at 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue on two separate occasions. The SWAT Team was ultimately called in when the suspect, a male, would not respond to officers…The Atlanta Police LGBTQ Liaison Unit was first notified about ‘a symbol that appeared to be a swastika spray-painted’ at the intersection of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue on Wednesday. Workers with the Atlanta Department of Transportation quickly arrived to clean it up. Overnight Thursday into Friday, the crosswalk was again defaced,” Fox 5 Atlanta reported.
Atlanta cops had released surveillance video of the incidents that occurred on August 17 and August 19 with a request for the public’s help in identifying a suspect.
On social media, authorities also shared a still image of the person the believed to be the suspect. The second incident reportedly occurred at the nearby Federal Reserve building.
“Police said investigators went to both sites, and reviewed surveillance videos that indicate they were graffitied by the same person,” NBC affiliate WXIA-TV, 11 Alive, reported prior to the arrest.
The APD needs assistance from the public as we seek to arrest the person responsible for vandalizing the Rainbow Crosswalk. The suspect spray-painted a swastika on the LGBTQ Rainbow Crosswalk Landmark at 10th St NE at Piedmont Ave. If you have any information, call 404-546-5706. pic.twitter.com/Ha0hHC8hXK
— Atlanta Police Department (@Atlanta_Police) August 19, 2022
An anti-gay slur was also allegedly spray-painted at at least one of the locations.
Authorities have yet to announce what charges the currently unidentified suspect will face, if any, or the underlying motivation for the abhorrent graffiti. More details will presumably be forthcoming as detectives continue their inquiry.
Interim police chief Darin Schierbaum indicated his department is “investigating the acts as hate crimes,” the Associated Press reported.
Chief Schierbaum added that “This is an unacceptable act in this city, anywhere in this city or in any form where citizens are targeted by hate.”
He also said that “this is a location that means tolerance for our city; this is community, this is inclusiveness, and when someone with hate in their heart defaces it, it’s condemned by our mayor…it’s condemned by the police department.”
The midtown crosswalks are located adjacent to the Atlanta’s first LGBTQ+ bookstore, according to CNN. “The crosswalks were originally installed ahead of the 2015 Pride festival.”
According to the website for the Atlanta Mayor’s Division of LGBTQ Affairs, “We were proud to install Atlanta’s first-ever permanent Rainbow Crosswalks…in 2017, dedicated in remembrance of the 49 LGBTQ+ lives lost in the horrific 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting.”
Watch a report aired by CBS46 Atlanta:
All suspects are presumed innocent until or unless they are convicted in a court of law of any alleged crimes.
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