California Cathedral Vandalized with Paint; Police Investigating as Possible Hate Crime

The vandalism is believed to have occurred around 5:45 a.m., according to police. Law enforcement will be investigating if the vandalism was a hate crime.

The Cathedral of the Annunciation in Stockton, California, was vandalized on the morning of Nov. 5, 2023.
The Cathedral of the Annunciation in Stockton, California, was vandalized on the morning of Nov. 5, 2023. (photo: Courtesy photo / Diocese of Stockton)

The Cathedral of the Annunciation in Stockton, California, was vandalized on the morning of Nov. 5 with white paint splattered across the church’s signs and front doors, with law enforcement currently investigating if the vandalism constituted a hate crime against the church.

Stockton police described the vandalism as “white paint randomly applied to the front door area, a walkway, and landscaping area as well as a flatbed trailer parked.”

The vandalism is believed to have occurred around 5:45 a.m., according to police. Law enforcement will be investigating if the vandalism was a hate crime. 

There have been no arrests in the case and a suspect has not yet been identified, a police spokesman told CNA on Monday. 

Diocese of Stockton Bishop Myron Cotta said in a statement Sunday that he was “deeply saddened” to learn about the attack on the church.

“I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to our dedicated parish staff and parishioners for their swift assistance in managing the situation,” Cotta said in the statement. 

He also gave a “special thanks” to the Stockton Police Department for its “prompt response” arriving at the scene.

The city of Stockton is located south of Sacramento and just east of San Francisco.

The cathedral on Sunday posted photos of the vandalism to Facebook.

Our Catedral of the Annunciation is alive with the Holy Spirit!! Thanks to Father John Foster’s quick action before the...

Posted by Cathedral of the Annunciation - Stockton on Sunday, November 5, 2023

The cathedral on its Facebook page said it is “alive with the Holy Spirit.”

“Thanks to our amazing parishioners [who] volunteered their pressure-washing equipment and talent, and our maintenance person who will finish off the details on the doors,” the post said.

“Thank you to the community for your prayers. God is good!” the church wrote.

Numerous acts of vandalism against Catholic churches have occurred around the U.S. in recent months.

Last month, two Catholic churches in Massachusetts were vandalized, one being the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. 

In August, police arrested a man suspected of attempting to light an Ohio church on fire in addition to heavily vandalizing it, causing an estimated $20,000 in damages.

In June and July, a church in El Paso, Texas, and a school in Denver were targeted as well.

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