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Two Longview churches vandalized with anti-Semitic symbols

Surveillance video at Trinity Lutheran Church on Monday, Oct. 31 (KATU News photo)

Two Longview churches were vandalized by someone who left hateful messages and anti-Semitic symbols on their front doors.

Saint Rose de Viterbo and Trinity Lutheran churches were both tagged early Monday morning. Longview police say St. Rose was tagged first, at about 3:10 a.m., down the street Trinity Lutheran Church was tagged at about 3:25 a.m.

Tuesday, Trinity Lutheran church members used a power washer to clean graffiti off one of their walls. At St. Rose, most of the paint was cleaned off relatively quickly Monday morning by parents from the St. Rose School, next to the church.

"It was disturbing and unsettling. Very unsettling to see that on the doors of our church," said Father Bryan Ochs, a priest at St. Rose.

Ochs first learned about the graffiti at about 6:30 a.m. on Monday. He immediately called Longview Police and shared their surveillance video detectives.

From the video shared with KATU, you can clearly see two people walk up the front door and spray paint the images.

Now, Ochs is turning the hateful message into a teaching moment for parishioners and students.

"We're using it as an opportunity to affirm our consciences, especially of our school children," said Ochs.

The priest says students headed to class at St. Rose School early Monday saw the graffiti, however, many of the younger students did not understand the meaning.

"When I shared with them that there are some racist things on our church, a lot of the little ones especially, their question was 'What's racism?' They play together so well, this is kind of a foreign thing for them." Ochs said.

To piggyback off the belief of the young kids, the message from Ochs is simple.

"We are just affirming what they believe, that there is really no big difference between people of different races," Ochs said.

Longview police are searching for two suspects in this case. If have information, please call Longview Police at 360-442-5800 to speak with Detective Mike Bokma.


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