British Columbia

Hate crime investigation launched into Victoria church vandalism

Victoria police released images and video from surveillance cameras which investigators said shows suspects damaging St. Andrew’s Cathedral, which is located at the corner of Blanshard and View streets just after 11 p.m. on Sept. 12, 2021.

Victoria Police Department releases video surveillance images of suspects and potential witnesses

Victoria police posted video and images from the night a downtown church was vandalized that it says shows a potential witness speaking to the suspects. (Victoria Police Department)

Victoria police is investigating vandalism at St. Andrew's Cathedral in the city's downtown core on Sept. 12 as a possible hate crime and has released video taken from surveillance cameras on the night of the crime.

Investigators said the surveillance video show two suspects damaging the 19th century church, which is located at the corner of Blanshard and View streets, just after 11 p.m. Sunday evening.

The words "murderer" and "genocide" were written on the Blanshard Street side of the building in red paint.

Victoria Police Department spokesperson Bowen Osoko says targeting places of worship for political purposes is a criminal offence.

"The nature of the targeting and some of the vandalism meets the standard for investigation as a hate-motivated incident or hate crime," she said.

Police say a female passerby during an incident of church vandalism in downtown Victoria is not a suspect and would like her to come forward. (Victoria Police Department)

Police are asking witnesses who were in the neighbourhood as the crime was occurring to come forward.

Investigators said one video shows a man who police believe was passing through the area speaking with the suspects and another video shows a woman walking by the church.

WATCH | Sureillance video shows vandalism and potential witnesses:

Surveillance video shows vandals damaging church

2 years ago
Duration 0:58
Victoria police are asking for witnesses to come forward after St. Andrew's Cathedral in the downtown core was vandalized.

VicPD said during the same night other similar acts of vandalism took place in Oak Bay and Saanich.

Police are asking the two witnesses seen on camera to come forward and are looking to identify the suspects.

Anyone with information about the incidents is being asked to contact the  VicPD Report Desk at (250) 995-7654 Ext. 1. Those with anonymous tips are asked to call Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.