3 teenagers charged in connection with racist graffiti incidents at Walt Whitman High

Three suspects have been charged in connection with what police describe as two “racially-themed vandalisms” at Walt Whitman High School in Maryland’s Montgomery County.

A 17-year-old boy has been charged with the March 1 and June 13 incidents at the Bethesda school. Jake Hoffman, 18, and a second 17-year-old were charged with conspiracy to commit the June 13 vandalism, police said.

On the morning of Saturday, June 13, authorities discovered graffiti, which depicted a noose and a racial slur, spray-painted on a shed on school property. A resident alerted police to the graffiti.

The following morning, Hoffman and one of teens spoke to police about the June 13 incident. The unidentified boy took responsibility for the latest incident and told police he thought it “would be fun to have something make the news given current events occurring in the United States,” police said.

A second teen was identified during the investigation.

The first suspect also admitted to the March 1 vandalism at the school, which police said was similar to the most recent incident.

Because of their ages, the names of the two other boys weren’t released.

One is charged with two counts of destruction of property, and the other with conspiracy to commit destruction of property. They were released to the custody of their parents.

Hoffman is charged with conspiracy to commit destruction of property.

It’s unknown whether the three teenagers are students at the school. All three are Montgomery County residents, police said.

In a letter to the school community after the latest incident, Principal Robert Dodd said if the suspects were students, “they will receive serious consequences and may face additional charges from Montgomery County police.”

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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