MANASSAS, Va. — Manassas Park police are looking for a group of suspects that allegedly vandalized multiple pieces of playground equipment at Signal Hill Park Tuesday night.
According to officials, police responded to the park on Signal View Dr. Thursday for a report of possible vandalism. When officers arrived, they found multiple pieces of playground equipment spray-painted with anti-LGBTQ+ messages and racial slurs.
Cleaning crews have attempted to clean up what has been left behind and they have used brown spray paint to cover up homophobic and racist messages written on the slide and the name of a white supremacist group.
Multiple spray paint cans and evidence that police say links to the suspects were found in the park including their initials marked on certain equipment.
Arrest warrants have been obtained for the adult suspects identified by Manassas Park Police as:
- James Henry Stanley, 24-year-old from Chester, Virginia.
- Kaitlin Joseph Gorman, 19-year-old from Branchville, New Jersey.
- Rose Michaela Kerrigan, 19-year-old from Gainesville, Virginia.
The trio is facing criminal felony charges for destruction of property, as well as misdemeanors for criminal trespassing, entering property to commit damage and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. A 13-year-old also is connected to the case but her identity will not be revealed.
The four suspects were caught on video surveillance at a nearby store purchasing spray paint on Tuesday night.
The City Manager of Manassas, William Pate, released a statement expressing how the city is "outraged over this heinous act by bad actors."
"The City Government will do what it can to keep LGBTQ residents (and all residents) safe from hate and intimidation," said Pate. "We do not tolerate vandalism of public property as this is not just a nuisance to our local communities; it is also dangerous and puts a strain on city resources."
Neighbors like the Donovan Family were outraged by the vandalism, "We are horrified, not just the racist things we saw, but just the idea that a child would come down and write these things," said Nick Donovan. He says they come to the park almost every day, it was one of the main reasons he moved to the area.
If the playground is replaced it could cost the city more than $80,000.
In a statement to WUSA9, Manassas Park Mayor, Jeanette Rishell said:
"As a city we have a strong sense of community and we are a very diverse and welcoming community. We hope that those who did this will reflect on the values of acceptance and tolerance, because these are the values that have made our community and our nation strong."
Investigators do not have a motive for the vandalism and it is not yet determined whether the adults could face hate crime charges.
"We do not accept this behavior; our city will not put up with any of this. We will prosecute to the full extent that the Virginia Commonwealth Attorney will allow us to," said Captain Frank Winston of the Manassas Park Police to WUSA9.
Arrangements have been made so the three adults can turn themselves into the police.
Police are investigating two separate incidents in Virginia after a church was set on fire and was defaced with graffiti. Then a pregnancy center was vandalized.