Swastika sprayed on New Brighton church’s shed


Solomon Gustavo • A swastika, washed off though still barely visible, was sprayed in fire extinguisher powder on a shed next to the community garden at Christ the King Lutheran Church in New Brighton sometime over the first weekend in July.

A congregant of Christ the King Lutheran Church in New Brighton reported to the New Brighton Department of Public Safety on July 8 that someone had broken into a shed next to the church’s community garden. 

A police officer arrived to check the scene at the church, which is located in the 1900 block of Seventh Street NW, and according to the police report first found pry marks on the hinges of the shed. Someone had forced access inside, but only rummaged around. It appears, the report says, the person took out a glass bottle and broke it on the grass next to the shed.

Then the officer found a circle of white powder in the grass. Inspecting further, the officer found more of the white powder, this time sprayed on the south wall of the shed in the shape of a swastika.

The powder appeared to be from a fire extinguisher stolen from a bus, said the police report. The bus was used by Christ the King to pick up and drop off children participating in the church’s afterschool and summer programs, said KC Gubrud, the church’s director of operations.

Gubrud said she has never seen or heard of anything like this in her four years at Christ the King. She said she doesn’t think of, or know of the church being a target. 

Gubrud said the congregant who made the report was stopping by the church to check on the community garden that Monday. Congregants pay a nominal fee to plant in the garden and put in some volunteer time for general garden maintenance of flowers and other plants. The congregant was a volunteer intending to carry out some routine garden upkeep when she saw the damage to the shed. 

As of July 12, Gubrud said she hasn’t heard if the the congregant saw the swastika, or if the sight of the hateful symbol hurt or affected any other congregants. The New Brighton Department of Public Safety said officers took pictures of it for their report, but later declined a request for the photo. 

The swastika has been washed off the shed. The grass died under the fire extinguisher powder left in a circle next to the shed, leaving a circle of discolored grass. 

 

— Solomon Gustavo

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