News

Young man arrested in racist graffiti attacks

Ottawa Sun City Hall Columnist Susan Sherring.

By Susan Sherring, Ottawa Sun

Joshua Dougherty wipes his eye as he comes through the doors at Congregation Machzikei Hadas, which was spraypainted with swastikas and hateful messages sometime over the night.

Joshua Dougherty wipes his eye as he comes through the doors at Congregation Machzikei Hadas, which was spraypainted with swastikas and hateful messages sometime over the night.

 

A youth has been arrested after a week-long rash of racist and anti-Semitic graffiti attacks that plagued places of worship across Ottawa.

 

Police Chief Charles Bordeleau said the youth was arrested early Saturday morning at the Soloway Jewish Community Centre near Carling and Broadview.

Police said the suspect, whose identity was not released, appeared in court Saturday and faces several charges including uttering threats of a dangerous weapon and mischief to religious buildings.

Police sources said the suspect is believed to be responsible for all of the spray-paint attacks this week. Police, who had the suspect under surveillance at the time of the Saturday morning attack, were helped by video footage from previous attacks.

This week’s graffiti attacks hit Parkdale United Church, the Ottawa Mosque near Tunney’s Pasture, and three Jewish sites: Kehillat Beth Israel congregation near Carling and Kirkwood, Congregation Machzikei Hadas in Alta Vista and a small prayer centre in the Glebe.

Chief Bordeleau announced the arrest at a morning interfaith gathering at the Machzikei Hadas Synagogue in south Ottawa, where an overflow crowd of about 600 had come together to show solidarity against the attacks.

The news was greeted by thunderous applause.

Bordeleau confirmed that hate graffiti had also been found on the Soloway community centre.

“Of course, this is good news and as the investigation continues, we’re hoping to determine whether this individual is related to (the other incidents) in Ottawa this week,” he said.

Mayor Jim Watson echoed this sentiment.

“Obviously there’s a great sense of relief in the community that an individual has been arrested and charged with defacing property,” Watson said.

“My hope is that brings some comfort to various parishioners of mosques and churches and synagogues. But we need to continue to be vigilant because sometimes these kinds of terrible acts are followed up by copy cats and we have to remain vigilant. My belief is that there’s a sense of relief, but we need a reminder that’s still some people that have a lot of hate in their heart,” Watson said following Saturday’s service.

However, both Bordeleau and Watson admitted there’s always a concern for copycat offenders.

 

 



Featured Businesses

Go to the Marketplace »