A teenage boy has been arrested after a spate of racist graffiti targeting religious communities across Ottawa, police chief Charles Bordeleau confirmed Saturday during a solidarity event at a synagogue that was defaced earlier this week.
The youth appeared in court this morning to face several charges, including uttering threats and mischief to religious buildings.
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Bordeleau said the suspect was caught after a Jewish community centre in west Ottawa was defaced overnight — the sixth incident of racist graffiti in less than a week.
"We recognize the impact that this type of crime has on the broader community and hopefully (the arrest) will help bring it to a conclusion," he said, adding that the "community can demonstrate that unity will overshadow these individual acts of hate."
Staff-Sgt. Jamie Harper said the teen was charged in relation to incidents across the city but could not confirm which specific cases. The teen's age was not released.
A mosque and a church with a pastor who is black were spray-painted with racist graffiti on Friday, after two synagogues and a Jewish prayer centre were defaced with anti-Semitic messages earlier in the week.
On Saturday morning, the Machzikei Hadas Synagogue in south Ottawa opened its doors to 600 people to gather in solidarity against the hateful messages, which included swastikas, racial slurs and pro-Hitler symbols. All the messages were painted in red.
Premier Kathleen Wynne, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi, along with several religious figures, attended the event.
"Words of concern and empathy are more powerful than graffiti. Expressions of love are more potent than expressions of hate," the crowd said in unison, as part of a solidarity statement during the event.
Police said Friday that surveillance video footage was part of the investigation.
No other details about the suspect were immediately available.