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Columbus residents push back after white supremacist vandalism hits buildings

Police are looking to identify a man caught on camera vandalizing Columbus churches, businesses and city property with white supremacist graffiti.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The FBI is helping Columbus police identify a man suspected of what they call white supremacist vandalism.

The logo of a supremacist group was found painted on a downtown church and other buildings over the weekend.

Workers and volunteers quickly painted over and cleaned up the graffiti the painted on a Presbyterian church, Cummins' international headquarters, and city-owned parking garages. There was also graffiti on windows that displayed gay pride flags.

"I know our church focuses a great deal on social justice, and that may be why the felt they had to target us," said First Presbyterian Church Pastor Felipe Martinez. 

A week ago, the church held a public rally in support of Columbus' Asian community. It attracted more than 200 people.

Cummins also recently spoke out against the growing number of violent attacks against the Asian community.

"Cummins vehemently condemns these actions that represent hate and intolerance," the company said in a prepared statement. "We will continue speaking up against hate and taking action to ensure our employees and the communities we serve are safe."

The suspect was captured on at least one video surveillance camera. Detectives are checking other cameras in the area. The FBI is helping Columbus investigators put a name with the suspect's face.

Credit: Columbus Police Department

"We believe the picture is clear enough that someone knows who this person is, and we don't know if he is from the area or out of town," said Columbus Police Department Lt. Matt Harris.

The community is home to Cummins' international headquarters and a number of foreign-owned companies. People from around the world come to the Bartholomew County community to work and live. More than a workplace, it is considered a true international community.

"Almost everyone enjoys that and appreciates it," said Jane Seifert.

Credit: WTHR/Rich Van Wyk
Volunteers had to paint over white supremacist vandalism at First Presbyterian Church in Columbus.

Jane and her husband Rick are Columbus residents. 

"People in this town just don't do things like that," Rick said. "We don't accept it and definitely don't condone it. If we knew who it was, we would turn him in in a heartbeat."

Police are hoping the community's concerns and conscience help them solve the case. Anyone with tips or information in the case should call the Columbus Police Department at 812-376-2600.