SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — “I have been struggling to not just break down and cry,” said Mark Dixon, the president and director of the historic Bartley and Decatur Community Center.

Using bright orange and pink spray paint, a person or persons vandalized a facility used to serve African American and Hispanic communities.

“When you see the n-word spray-painted…You know if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, I figure it is a duck,” said Dixon. “I take that to mean there was at least some racial motivation behind this vandalism.”

This incident comes months after the Community Center replaced its air conditioning units after thieves ripped out the copper.

“It is wrong, and I don’t want it to happen to anybody else,” said Dixon. “And I want people to understand we have come further than this. On paper, at least. Let’s go further than this.”

A neighbor to the facility, Viola Herron, said she wants to understand why people would hurt something meant to help others.

“You would think they would appreciate it- something for the community,” said Herron. “And this is ridiculous…If it is kids or whatever, it is disappointing.”

Dixon hopes whoever was involved is brought to justice.

“Ideally, it would be some miracle if they said that was really rotten, and we shouldn’t have done that and turn myself in,” said Dixon. “Short of that, I hope someone does turn them in because someone knows something.”

A police report has been filed concerning the incident. Dixon, along with community members, will form a plan on how to clean up the mess.