KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Churchgoers arrived to a shocking scene Sunday morning at a Kansas City area church. Racist symbols were spray painted on the church’s exterior and there was other vandalism inside.
The Kansas City Police Department says someone broke into Concord Fortress of Hope church and got into a vending machine and the financial office. They even lit a chair on fire.
The fire department was called to the church at 11050 W. Longview Pkwy. about 6:24 Sunday morning on a fire alarm. Reports indicated a sprinkler in the office was activated. When firefighters arrived, they also found the graffiti on the front doors and windows of the building.
Kansas City Bomb and Arson officers, as well as investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), are investigating the incident.
“That’s devastating for this congregation,” said ATF Investigator John Ham. “It’s devastating for this community.”
But the vandals didn’t stop the congregation from worshipping. Kansas City Councilman Quinton Lucas tweeted that the vandalism would not stop the morning services.
“Fools think they’re gonna keep us from worshipping this morning,” and “Racist vandals and arsonists not slowing down 8 a.m. service at @concordhope church,” he tweeted.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Fools think they're gonna keep us from worshipping this morning. <a href=” https://t.co/bCHhN8N93M”>pic.twitter.com/bCHhN8N93M</a></p>— Quinton Lucas (@QuintonLucasKC) <a href=” https://twitter.com/QuintonLucasKC/status/924626527303733248?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>October 29, 2017</a></blockquote>
<script async src=” https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
“I got to listen to a little, but of the pastor’s sermon and you talk about a resilient church, this incident and what is spray painted on the front of the building, regardless of how it plays into our investigation, is not going to slow this church down,” said Ham. “In fact, it will just continue to encourage them to do what they are already doing in the community.”
Officials are reviewing security video from inside the church and ask asking with information to contact them immediately so they can find who is responsible.
ATF is offering a $5,000 reward for an information from the public.
“An attack on a church and an attack on a congregation is really an attack on everyone,” said Ham.
Ham also says no tip is too small. If you have any information contact ATF at 1-888-ATF-FIRE.
Law enforcement is working under the assumption the break-in, arson and graffiti are all connected. Right now this is being investigated as a burglary and fire.
The FBI has been notified of the incident. If it is determined as a hate crime, the agency will be brought in on the investigation.
(KSHB for CNN)