Virginia police opened an investigation on Saturday into an apparent hate crime at a Jewish Community Center in Fairfax where 19 swastikas were found spray-painted onto the building’s outer walls.
Local authorities released photos from security camera footage, which showed a suspect arriving at the scene and defacing the JCC at around 4:30 a.m. early Saturday morning.
Building staff noticed the vandalism when they arrived to open the building at 7:00 a.m., the JCC’s Executive Director David Yaffe told local media.
“As many of us recognize, these acts do not represent the community around the J or the community in Northern Virginia,” JCC leadership said in a statement.
BREAKING: Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia — my JCC where my kids went to preschool — spray painted with 19 swastikas overnight. Police say incident captured on security cameras but culprits still unknown. I’m sickened. pic.twitter.com/ttatPg51Hl
— Kevin Baron (@DefenseBaron) October 6, 2018
“The J as a whole, and particularly through the focused efforts of our Committee for a Just and Caring Community, will continue to participate as a positive force in both the Jewish and wider communities.”
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine referred to the incident as part of a broader “insidious rise in hateful actions and anti-Semitism.”
“We must meet it with fierce condemnation and an over-abundance of love and unity. We cannot allow hate to fester,” he tweeted.
This is the Fairfax Jewish Community Center this morning.
An insidious rise in hateful actions and anti-Semitism is happening in Virginia and across the country. We must meet it with fierce condemnation and an over-abundance of love and unity. We cannot allow hate to fester. pic.twitter.com/85bW2Hl0th
— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) October 6, 2018
The same Fairfax JCC was targeted with anti-Semitic graffiti in April 2017.
“Hitler was right” swastikas and the SS symbol were found spray-painted on the exterior of the JCC building. In addition, “Defend America; No Muslims,” was spray-painted on the door of a nearby church. “Jesus knows no traitors” was written over the church’s Holy Week schedule, and a sign that read “Say NO to anti-Muslim bigotry” was crossed out.
Twenty-year old Dylan Mahone was subsequently arrested for the incident and charged with four counts of felony destruction of property, one count of placing a swastika on religious property with intent to intimidate, two counts of wearing a mask in public to conceal one’s identity, and one count of posting hateful posters on the college’s campus.