LAPD: Arrest Made in Hate Crime At Islamic Center Building in Koreatown

Photo: Los Angeles Police Department

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A arrest has been made in the case involving a man who scrawled anti-Islamic hate words on the Islamic Center of Southern California's Koreatown building over the weekend, authorities said Tuesday.

The crime occurred about 12:40 a.m. Sunday at 434 S. Vermont Ave., according to a community alert with a surveillance photo circulated by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Police had appealed for the public's help to find the suspect, and on Tuesday morning the LAPD confirmed that an arrest had been made. Other details were not immediately available for release.

"The suspect used permanent marker to write anti-Islamic hate words on the property of a religious center and fled the location northbound on Vermont Avenue," according to a police statement.

The suspect was described as between 40 and 50 years old, 5 feet, 9 inches tall, 180 pounds, wearing all-black clothes including a beanie, jacket, shirt with unknown design, pants and shoes. The crime was partially captured on surveillance video.

The Islamic Center of Southern California issued a statement saying: "We are deeply saddened and disturbed to announce that a hate crime against the Muslim Community at the Islamic Center of Southern California occurred early this morning on Easter Sunday in Los Angeles. This is an appalling act of vandalism targeting the center where innocent individuals gather for their daily religious observances.

"The Los Angeles Police Department is currently investigating this odious crime and are working closely with leaders from the ICSC to gather all the necessary information to bring the perpetrators to justice. We urge anyone with information to come forward and assist with the investigation.

"This hate crime is a reminder that we must stand together locally and internationally as a community against all forms of hate, bigotry, and violence. We must remain vigilant and work towards creating a society that is inclusive, tolerant, and respects the beliefs and traditions of all communities."

At an early afternoon news conference Monday, local leaders decried the act of vandalism and rising numbers of  hate crimes in general.

"We're better together," Brian K. Williams, the city's deputy mayor of public safety, said. "We're stronger together and we're better than what happened last night or the other night in our community, and we're just not going to stand for it. So the mayor is behind you 100%, the city's family is behind you 100%. We're going to stand together to defeat this evil that's occurring within our community."

LAPD Chief Michel Moore said detectives were "continuing to work with businesses up and down this corridor" to gather additional surveillance footage that could help lead to the culprit.

Anyone with information was asked to call detectives at the LAPD Olympic Station at 213-382-9466 or the watch commander at 213-382-9110 after hours.

Photo: Los Angeles Police Department

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