After 66 years, Central District church wakes up to hate crime

Church in Seattle's Central District hit by hateful vandals. KOMO PHOTO. April 24, 2016.

SEATTLE -- Police are investigating after vandals broke into the Curry Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, and spray painted racist messages on the walls overnight.

The church located on 23rd Avenue was preparing to celebrate its 66th anniversary on Sunday, but instead woke up to a hate crime.

Church elder Charles Eakers found the vandalism this morning, saying the Central District church had racist graffiti scrawled on the walls, and property damage throughout the building.

"When I unlocked the door to come in, I saw all this black spray paint on the wall in the hall. I hit the light switch and no light came on," Eaker said.

When Eakers walked around the corner, he saw a Swastika sign and other racist insults spray painted down the hall. After walking through the building and noting random property damage, he found even more hateful messages in the church's sanctuary.

"They wrote, (expletive) go back to Africa," Eakers said.

Police are looking into how the vandals were able to break in. Eakers said there was an open window on the second floor, but he's not sure how they would have been able to get in through it.

"You know, I came here in '53 and joined in '54. We've never had a problem," Eakers told KOMO News. He said he feels the congregation will be sad and upset, as they consistently give back to the community and try to make the area a better place.

Instead of celebrating, the congregation is now left to clean up the mess that police are investigating as a hate crime.

"We're only a block away from Garfield High School," Eakers said. "Who would want to harm a church?"

Eakers is helping officers and documenting the crime. Police have just started investigating and will provide updates as they are available.

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