VAN NUYS, Calif. – Eight stained glass windows were broken by a vandal at St. Peter Armenian Apostolic Church in Van Nuys, Calif., late during the night of September 22, according to the Facebook page of the church and information provided to the Armenian Mirror-Spectator by Fr. Shnork Demirjian, pastor of the church.
According to video footage from the church’s surveillance cameras, at 1:30 a.m., a masked white male in his twenties, with a backpack on, destroyed the eight stained glass windows with a baseball bat and then walked away. The stained glass windows were adjacent to the main street of Sherman Way, and a significant amount of glass fragments are now on the property.
There was also vandalism done to the sign of the neighboring church on the property. No one has been harmed, and the church reports that the LAPD Headquarters is actively investigating this incident, while the parish priest and parish council are taking immediate measures to secure and protect the church.
Technically vandalism would be considered as destruction of property, whereas writings or graffiti messages on property would be categorized as a hate crime. “However, when you destroy iconic images that represent religion or ethnicity, that’s categorized as a hate crime. In our case, destroying the image of Jesus Christ on the stained glass should be undoubtedly considered a hate crime. As the incident occurred one day after the 30th anniversary of the independence of Armenia, there is also racial implication involved,” said Fr. Demirjian.