A 60-year-old black man was arrested in Atlanta last month after he allegedly vandalized a historic Baptist church with spray-painted imagery of swastikas as a hanging.
Atlanta Police arrested James McIntyre on February 19 in connection to the vandalism after surveillance cameras caught him tagging Providence Missionary Baptist Church on Benjamin E. Mays Drive, according to Fox 5. Officials said that during the investigation, they found McIntyre sitting across the street from the scene of the crime.
According to 11 Alive, the front of the church was tagged with several messages including "devil worship 666," "apostate," "Satan," "sin," and at least one homophobic message. The main doors had a backward swastika and imagery of a hanging painted on them.
Atlanta Police said that McIntyre had been removed from the property the previous Sunday for trespassing.
Reverend Doctor Gerald Durley, the church’s former pastor, told Channel 2 Action News that he hopes those responsible will be prosecuted under hate crime laws.
"This is an atrocity to America. It’s sad when on a Sunday morning when people come to worship that these kinds of abusive markings are placed all over the building." Durley said. "Any words are offensive when they attach someone’s race, gender or faith."
In response to a TikTok video posted of local news coverage of the vandalism, in which a photo of McIntyre was not shown, some users appeared to presume that the suspect was white.
"I have been to that church in the pass [sic] for black political conference, still have pictures. White Racism and WP is mother nature’s worst mistake," wrote one TikTok user.
"Wow…Gays Blacks Jews n Christians….these racist people are full of venom and incurable poison."