Vandal smashes stained-glass windows of Armenian church

Published: Sep. 25, 2021 at 1:25 PM EDT
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VAN NUYS, Calif. (KCAL) - Security video from the St. Peter Armenian Apostolic Church in California shows a man walk up to the church at about 1:30 a.m. on Thursday with a bag, a bat and a purpose.

“A young man in his 20′s came, well-organized and you can tell it’s premeditated,” Shnork Demirjian, the church’s parish priest, said.

The man takes a moment to put on a mask and his hat again, then he begins to smash the stained-glass windows along one side of the church.

“Initially you feel surprised and then you realize what’s happening, the devastation and the damage,” Demirjian said. “We have to control our sentiments, but you still feel angry.”

After more than 20 strikes along the wall, the suspect shattered a total of eight windows.

Demirjian called police who are now investigating the incident as vandalism. However, Demirjian believes it’s a hate crime.

“By coincidence on Sept. 21, it was the celebration of the independence of Armenia,” he said. “I really believe that it’s against Armenians who happen to be Christians.”

This isn’t the first time a church in the area has been the target of vandals.

Back in April, someone angrily defaced a Virgin of Guadalupe mural at the St. Elizabeth Catholic Church with a sledgehammer.

“It’s against all people of all nations of religion because disrespect to one religion is a disrespect to other religions,” Demirijan said.

As for the man who damaged the priceless windows at St. Peter Armenian Church, Demirijian hopes his hate will be changed into love.

“Forgiveness, you’re going to receive forgiveness, but you have to pay for what you have done,” he said.

Copyright 2021 KCAL via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.