Italian church in Chinatown vandalized with paint, LAPD investigating as hate crime

The vandalism appears to be linked to Monday's holidays marking Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples' Day
CHINATOWN (KABC) -- St. Peter's Italian Catholic Church in Chinatown was vandalized earlier this week with red paint and a banner that read "stop colonizing our land."

"I really am hurt by seeing the church vandalized," said church member Stephen Saletros.

Activists and members of the church held a press conference to voice their concerns about the vandalism.

"It's a slap in the face to Italians and it's a hate crime," said Hands Off Columbus activist Raul Montes Jr.

LAPD said no arrests have been made. But they say it's being investigated as a hate crime.

"This is a house of worship of God. I mean, if you start attacking this what's the next phase," said Hands Off Columbus activist Frank Coconate.

The vandalism appears to be linked to Monday's holidays marking Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Columbus' arrival brought on colonialism which led to natives losing their land and suffering atrocities.

Several cities across the country have removed monuments honoring Columbus.

The priest said a similar act of vandalism took place here on the same week last year.

There's no surveillance footage from the day of the vandalism but the priest said they will be implementing new security measures.

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