Hateful Graffiti Discovered Near Burned Church

| July 16, 2010

NASHVILLE, Ind. — Derogatory graffiti found near the burned shell of a historic Brown County church could be linked to this week's arson.

Firefighters were called to the Grandview Apostolic Church at 8349 Grandview Road just before 5 a.m. on Wednesday, and investigators from the Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ruled that the blaze was intentionally set.

Church members told 6News' Rick Hightower that besides the damage to the historic building, the word "freaks" and other offensive language was spray painted on an old school bus used as classroom near the church.

"I think it's a shame with the church as old as it is, and they have no more respect than that for the church," said church trustee Merrill Walker. "I wish I knew who did this. I'd like to see them pay for it."

Members of the church, which was built in 1892, sifted through the rubble on Thursday.

Bernice Walker, whose family has worshiped there for more than two decades, found her Bible, with some pages still readable. She said she doesn't know why anyone would target the church.

"I have no idea, I couldn't tell you," she said, crying. "I know God will punish them very badly."

Neighbors also stopped by to offer support.

"They can destroy a building, but they're not going to destroy the will of these people, and it's going to make them stronger," said Tammy Herrin.

Church members said there was no insurance on the old chapel, but that they hope to raise enough money to build a new church. Until then, the congregation of about 45 will worship elsewhere.

No one was injured in the blaze.

Anyone with information is asked to call the state's Arson Hot Line at 800-382-4628, or Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.



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Category: Church Security

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