Explosion at Wash. church Pride Month display investigated as possible hate crime


RENTON, WA (KIRO/CNN) - The FBI is investigating a possible explosion that took place at the United Christian Church Wednesday morning. It’s the second attack on the church this week.

The apparent target is a Pride Month display the church put up to show its inclusivity.

Noises woke people up in the neighborhood.

“There was explosives taped to the back of the doors, and you could see where the other ones had blown up. One did not go off,” said Bailey Laronde, who teaches preschool in a building near the church..

The rainbow-colored doors outside United Christian Church are the congregation’s way of announcing “God’s doors are open to all.” Holes and burn damage now mar the doors.

Someone also wrote “Leviticus 20:13,” a verse which may refer to homosexuality.

Wednesday’s case is the fourth time someone vandalized these doors.

First, they were pushed over twice, so the community secured them down.

Then Monday someone lit a door on fire. The community fixed that.

Wednesday, someone apparently used explosives to damaged more doors.

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating at least part of what’s happened here as a hate crime.

They collected evidence from the scene, swabbing signs and packing up the doors that were damaged.

A couple who lives nearby said the escalating hate crimes can’t help but impact their sense of security.

“I mean, I appreciate the fact they’re taking it seriously, but it does cast a sense of underlying fear that happens here in the neighborhood now that ... well, it didn’t exist yesterday. And I think that’s the shame,” Traci Hiller said.

The church says its commitment to the LGBTQ community will not waver even for the person or people who did this.

“Even for the person who did this, we hope their heart can be softened too so that they can understand that really we’re here to love people,” Jolynn Kenney said.

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