Spray-painted hate speech discovered in Bethesda

Police in Montgomery County, Maryland, say they are investigating spray-painted hate speech at a Bethesda grocery store, a high school and two churches.

Police said officers observed garbage Dumpsters with blue spray paint reading “WHITE PRIDE 2021,” behind the Giant at 10400 Old Georgetown Rd. on the morning of Oct. 3.

Officers learned a short time later that the phrases “NO COMMIES,” “LGBT IS UNNATURAL” and “WHITE PRIDE” with circles and crosses spray-painted in blue were found at multiple spots a few hundred feet away at Walter Johnson High School, at 6400 Rock Spring Drive.

Police said officers were advised of similar vandalism in the immediate area — on the welcome sign of a church in the 10000 block of Old Georgetown Road, and at a bus stop at Old Georgetown Road and Democracy Boulevard shortly after.

Officers were advised of more vandalism on the Bethesda Trolley Trail and at another church in the 6000 block of Grosvenor Lane, police said.

All the vandalism was committed in the space of about a half-mile square.

Surveillance video shows images of a potential suspect who appeared to be a male, slim to medium build, wearing a light-colored hat, dark red (possibly plaid) shirt or jacket, tan pants and brown boots, according to police. The potential suspect was wearing a headlamp and a backpack too.

Montgomery County police released these images of the suspect in the vandalism.

Police are asking anyone with more information on the incident or the identity of the suspect to call the 2nd District Patrol Investigations Unit at 240-773-6726.

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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