On Friday, police in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, arrested and charged a 66-year-old man with hate crimes after he allegedly defaced a church in Gambrills, Maryland, with hate-motivated graffiti.
Police say that on August 3, Donald Eugene Hood, Jr., of no fixed address, inscribed an offensive message on the inside of a door to the Kingdom Celebration Center, which is located at 952 Annapolis Road.
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Hood was arrested Friday night in Gambrills after a community member reported him to police. He has been charged with Malicious Destruction of Property and three counts related to destruction, harassment and targeting a group/organization based upon their RRSOD (race/religion/sexual orientation/disability) status.
After a hearing with the Anne Arundel County District Court Commissioner, Hood was released on his own recognizance as police continue their investigation. They say the case will remain open and Hood may be subject to further charges related to other acts of vandalism.
The church, which largely serves the area’s Black community, has been the target of similar incidents of hate inspired vandalism in the past. A surveillance camera installed on the church’s property took a part in identifying Hood to police.
In a statement, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman said “those who continue to harass our neighbors and commit these disgusting hate crimes, know that your bigotry will not stop the work of these excellent Black leaders, and know that when you are arrested you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
On Wednesday evening, @AACOPD responded to a racially-motivated vandalism incident at Kingdom Celebration Center in Gambrills. This is the second time in a matter of weeks that the Kingdom Celebration Center has been the victim of racist graffiti. pic.twitter.com/MzWxc9PxyQ
— County Executive Steuart Pittman (@AACoExec) August 5, 2022
Police didn’t say if they believe Hood is behind other similar crimes — at least nine churches in the county have been vandalized since May. The Kingdom Celebration Center itself has been vandalized multiple times.
In July, WTOP reported on an act of vandalism at the church where someone trashed the property and wrote the N-word followed by the words “in jail,” an apparent reference to Bishop Antonio Palmer, who leads the church’s congregation.
WTOP’s John Domen and Joshua Barlow contributed to this report.