Vandals damage windows at Pride Community Center in Gainesville and leave hate message

Published: Sep. 24, 2022 at 6:16 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - On Saturday morning, members of the Pride Community Center in Gainesville received a call from a real estate office in the same complex about their building being vandalized.

“She told me that she was just informed by somebody that came to her office that the pride center had been vandalized and that the windows were all smashed,” said board member Debbie Lewis.

Lewis said she then called vice president James Brown who quickly got in his car to see the damage that was made.

“Early today and in the pit of my stomach right now is it’s heartbreaking to see a building that we pour so much love and energy into. Being vandalized by people that were obviously targeting us because of the work we do here,” said Brown.

Lewis said she also had the same heartbreaking feeling.

“When I came here and saw everything it was hard I got very emotional because it was hard to see.”

Brown said when he first got to the building some of the windows were shattered.

“It looked like they used rocks to break the windows we don’t know for sure the police are investigating that’s going to be their job to figure out. The reason it’s being investigated as a hate crime is because of the notes that were left.”

Members didn’t want to share the message due to the ongoing investigation and the community joined in helping board up the windows and sending their support.

“When something like this happens you find out who your friends are and we got some great people who showed up today,” said Lewis.

The Gainesville Police Department is investigating the incident and there’s a donation link set up for anyone that wants to help out.

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