Law enforcement and community leaders say they’re responding to racist, antisemitic and homophobic graffiti discovered at a shopping center in Loudoun County, Virginia, on Friday morning.
The hate speech targeting minority communities was found around 8:30 a.m. Friday morning at the South Riding Town Center, which is located at 43063 Peacock Market Plaza in Chantilly.
The graffiti was painted on the side of the old Food Lion building, the roadway and an electrical box, a spokesperson for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office told WTOP. Swastikas, racial slurs and the phrase “stop white genocide” were among other offensive words and symbols found on the walls and ground.
In addition to the vandalism found at South Riding, deputies said additional graffiti was discovered Sunday behind the Bed Bath & Beyond building at Dulles Landing shopping center. That incident is also under investigation.
The sheriff’s office took to Twitter to condemn the act and ask for assistance from the community as they begin the investigation.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a vandalism in South Riding involving hateful, racist rhetoric. There is no place in society for this behavior. Anyone with any information that may be helpful, please call Detective Fornwalt at 703-777-1021. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/nY4gPASTw0
— Loudoun County Sheriff (@LoudounSheriff) December 4, 2022
County Supervisor Matt Letourneau said, “the messages are truly disgusting and have no place in this community or any other.”
Letourneau is also demanding swift action from the property owner in the removal of the display.
“My office will be contacting the property owner and the broker representatives for the shopping center first thing Monday to implore them to get this cleaned up immediately,” Letourneau said.
Gil Preuss, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, said incidents like this are not new.
“These have been occurring at an increasing rate in our region and in our country,” he said. “We have to stop it.”
The attack has also led to calls for unity from Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj, who said in a statement, “we must remain vigilant to protect our values and freedoms as Loudouners.”
The sheriff’s office is investigating the vandalism and asks anyone with information to contact them at 703-777-1021.