The mayor of Billings says the city is doing everything it can to find the person or people responsible for spray painting racist graffiti and leaving anti-gay messages at a church and local schools.
Evidence of the vandalism was found twice recently at the Grace United Methodist Church. Authorities say the church may have been targeted because it flies the rainbow flag and invites gay, lesbian, and transgender people to worship there. The other incidents happened at Lewis and Clark Middle School, Senior High School and Pioneer Park.
Billings Mayor Bill Cole says he’s disturbed by the crimes
"You know, I was broken hearted," Cole says. "Billings is better than that, and I think we all know that. The racist and anti-gay graffiti that we saw in these two incidents was deplorable and despicable and degrading."
Cole says the city is ready to prosecute based on violation of laws regarding criminal mischief, vandalism and damage to property.
"Billings Police Department and its partners in law enforcement are working hard to find the person or persons responsible. I think they have some leads, and I’m cautiously optimistic that they will be able to apprehend somebody."
Meanwhile, Mayor Cole says a fundraiser is underway that would allow the church to upgrade its security system.