VAN NUYS, Calif. (KCAL) – Security video from St. Peter’s Armenian Apostolic Church in California shows a man walking to church at around 1:30 a.m. Thursday with a bag, bat and a goal.
“A young man in his twenties came, well organized and you can tell it’s premeditated,” said Shnork Demirjian, the pastor of the church.
The man takes a moment to put his mask and hat back on, then he begins to smash the stained glass windows on one side of the church.
“At first you feel surprised, then you realize what’s going on, the devastation and the damage,” Demirjian said. “We have to control our feelings, but you still feel angry.”
After more than 20 strikes along the wall, the suspect smashed a total of eight windows.
Demirjian called the police who are currently investigating the incident as vandalism. However, Demirjian believes it to be a hate crime.
“Coincidentally, September 21 was the celebration of Armenia’s independence,” he said. “I really believe it’s against Armenians who happen to be Christians.
This is not the first time that a church in the region has been the target of vandals.
In April, someone angrily disfigured a fresco of the Virgin of Guadalupe in St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church with a hammer.
“It is against all people of all nations of religion because disrespecting one religion is disrespecting other religions,” Demirijan said.
As for the man who damaged the priceless windows of St. Peter’s Armenian Church, Demirijian hopes his hatred will turn into love.
“Forgiveness, you are going to receive forgiveness, but you have to pay for what you have done,” he said.
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