EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect the race of individuals with warrents,. An earlier version incorrectly state there are two white males with warrents. There is one white male.
The Fayetteville Police Department have arrested one man and secured warrants for three additional suspects in connection to multiple incidents of vandalism this week across downtown, including many graffiti markings with hate speech and offensive symbols.
Police announced the arrest and warrants in a statement Friday evening. The suspects are all within 18 to 21 years of age, including one white male, two Black males and one Hispanic male.
“Investigating the multiple events of vandalism, countless hours of video were reviewed by Fayetteville Police Department’s Property and Fraud Unit,” the statement said. “During the review detectives were able to identify a suspect vehicle and four individuals for the vandalism incidents.”
The graffiti, most of which appeared Thursday, appeared after several downtown buildings were vandalized with swastikas and hate speech last week.
Some of the graffiti contains repeated phrases and symbols matching up in different locations that were vandalized.
A city code enforcement officer told CityView the Code Enforcement Division had assessed 14 affected properties on Thursday alone. The police department confirmed in the Friday evening statement that seven locations had been vandalized in the downtown area, including Unity Tabernacle Christian Church for the second time this week.
The parking deck on Hay Street has also been a prominent target of the vandals, with several cars in the lot graffitied on Thursday. A video of another car surfaced on social media Friday morning, with the car covered in hate speech and offensive symbols as well.
On Gillespie Street, Unity Tabernacle Christian Church — which was vandalized with racial slurs and hateful symbols over the weekend — was again targeted on Thursday, as the opposite side of the building was graffitied with similar vulgar language and symbols, including swastikas. A police report had been filed for the repeat incident, Fayetteville Police Department Public Information Officer Rickelle Harrell said.
In addition to the first instance of graffiti at Unity Tabernacle Christian on Saturday, a bomb threat was called into Simon Temple AME Zion Church on Yadkin Road on Sunday morning, prompting the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office to release a statement clarifying there was “no evidence to tie the two incidents together.”
One of the graffiti incidents on Thursday was a Hay Street building vandalized with the slogan “White Lives Matter,” a popular slogan of white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups that proliferated in reaction to the Black Lives Matter social justice movement.
The warrants for arrest include:
By Friday evening, Dominic Smith had been arrested and was booked into the Cumberland County Jail and released under a $65,000 unsecured bond. Warrants for arrest are active for the remaining three suspects.
This story will be updated with additional information as it becomes available.
Contact Evey Weisblat at email@example.com or 216-527-3608.