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American Martyrs Church Vandalized with Graffiti

Oct 22, 2021 12:42PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

The north side of American Martyrs Church in Manhattan Beach, where vandals spray-painted graffiti on Saturday night. The area has since been power-washed to remove the graffiti.

American Martyrs Church in Manhattan Beach was vandalized with hateful graffiti over the weekend in two different areas outside the church. No suspects have been identified and the graffiti has been removed by power washing.

According to the Manhattan Beach Police Department, video recordings from the church’s security system depicts two subjects walking to the area of the vandalism at approximately 11:59pm on Saturday, October 16. They appeared to discharge an aerosol can believed to be spray paint, and then left the area. 

The crude and offensive messages written in graffiti were scrawled on the front area of the church (1431 Deegan Place) as well as the side (600 block of 15th St.).

Christopher Ineguez, public information officer for the Manhattan Beach Police Department, told DigMB that the department was not able to get much information from the security tape.

I know detectives will be out there doing some follow up but from initial video, but it is very grainy and there's not much they can put together at all," said Ineguez.

Ineguez noted that graffiti happens more often than people would realize in Manhattan Beach, including a recent incident down at the Manhattan Beach Pier. Such public graffiti is often cleaned up quickly, so people don't hear about it as often, he said.

The American Martyrs incident has drawn an outcry in town due to its crude and hateful messaging. The graffiti was a topic of comment and condemnation at Tuesday night's Manhattan Beach City Council meeting.

The Manhattan Beach Police Department is actively investigating the crime and is seeking the public’s assistance.  If you have further information or video recordings of the crime, please contact the Manhattan Beach Police Department’s tip line at (310) 802-5171.

Monsignor Barry Releases Statement

On Thursday, Monsignor John Barry of American Martyrs released the following statement:

"On Sunday morning before the 6:45 am Mass, we discovered hateful graffiti painted on the wall
and the prayer walk outside of our Church. We called the police who quickly responded, and
they took a report as well as visual evidence. We then painted over the graffiti before Mass

"My first response was not to give publicity to this kind of hate since it will only encourage these
people. But at the same time I know we must condemn these acts of vandalism and destruction
which have been increasing not just in our area, but across the country. The US Conference of
Catholic Bishops has been tracking incidents of vandalism against the Church. October 10
marked the 100th incident since May 2020: satanic and other hateful graffiti was scrawled on
the walls before Sunday Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in
Denver, Colorado.

"The graffiti at our Church was at least the 101st incident, and it was no less hateful. All of us
must condemn these destructive acts and we hope the police find the perpetrators. However, I
hear what the Bishops are saying, that “In all cases, we must reach out to the perpetrators
with prayer and forgiveness. . . This destruction must stop. This is not the way.” Let us
continue to be vigilant and when we see any destructive behavior to alert our police.
God bless all of us who work together to live and support one another in God’s love.

Monsignor John Barry"

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