OCEANSIDE (CBS 8) – Vandalism at an Oceanside LGBTQ Resource Center is being investigated as a hate crime.
Staff at North County Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Resource Center came to work on Wednesday to find the office’s front window shattered.
“Right away I realized there was intent to intimidate and that is why the police were called and they came and accessed this was a hate crime,” said Max Disposti, North County LGBTQ Resource Center Executive Director.
Under California law, a hate crime is enhanced and if convicted of vandalizing property motivated by hate that carries a sentence up to one year in prison.
“It doesn't matter if it hit a person or a thing, it does cause the same sense of despair and insecurity,” said Disposti.
The executive director says the vandal(s) hit early Wednesday morning, by Friday, they repaired the $750 in damages with the help of community donations and emotional support.
“It feels good to have that support and times when they get hard and stuff like this and you see people who actually care,” said Daniel Escamilla, North County LGBTQ volunteer.
The Center has not been targeted in a while but supporters believe the national movement to restrict and support transgender rights is motivating the local hate.
“It's hard to try to feel like we are moving forward when stuff like this continues to happen,” said Escamilla.
Supporters say they are stronger than the hate and they are not going anywhere. They are proud to continue to serve more than 10,000 people each year at the LGBTQ Center, ““Picking up the pieces and going forward,” said Escamilla.
The North County LGBTQ Center is moving to a bigger space. With the help of city, the Center locked down federal money to expand at 3220 Mission Avenue on July 5th.
The city of Oceanside and police have LGBT liaisons and the Center is training leaders.
If you have any information about the reported hate crime call Oceanside Police at (760) 435-4900