LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A man was arrested Tuesday, April 11, for allegedly scrawling anti-Islamic hate words on the Islamic Center of Southern California’s Koreatown building over the weekend.
Carlos Moran, 43, who is homeless, was booked on suspicion of “church vandalism” with a “hate crime enhancement” and on a misdemeanor warrant, and was held on $85,000 bail, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The crime occurred at about 12:40 a.m. Sunday at 434 S. Vermont Ave., according to the LAPD.
Moran was arrested at about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday and allegedly had a black Sharpie in his possession, the LAPD reported.
“Olympic patrol officers were directed to the 500 block of Chateau Place, where they identified an individual matching the description of the hate crime suspect, who appeared to be wearing the same clothing with the exception of a T-shirt from the night of the incident,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the city Police Commission Tuesday morning.
Moore said the suspect appeared to be suffering from some type of mental health issue.
“There were questions regarding some of his expressions which professed hatred toward Muslims, but also referenced a king and number 222,” Moore said. “According to information we’ve gathered from our interview with this individual, he believes that he is a king, and his birthday was Feb. 22, which helps explain the markings.
“What is unexplainable is the professed hatred he expressed and some of the other markings that are on those columns [of the center],” he said. “We will continue to work this investigation and work with our District Attorney’s Office.”
According to sheriff’s inmate records, Moran was being held in lieu of $85,000 bail.
The crime was partially captured on surveillance video, and police released security images and appealed for the public’s help to find the suspect.
“The suspect used a 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 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.”
“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.”