SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Old Mission Santa Barbara has been vandalized with splatters of red paint and graffiti.
According to the Santa Barbara Police Department, the vandalism was reported at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. The front of the mission located on the 2200 block of Laguna Street was spray-painted either late Tuesday or early Wednesday with the words "rape" and "genecide," likely a misspelling of "genocide."
The paint was already dried when police were called.
A window was broken and the building and steps were also doused in a brownish-red paint.
The side of the parish church was spray-painted: "Never forget the lives and land stolen."
The Santa Barbara Mission was established in 1786 and was the tenth of twenty-one California Missions to be founded by the Spanish Franciscans.
Because Old Mission Santa Barbara is a historic building, the estimated damage is north of $30,000 making this crime a felony. Right now authorities are processing evidence found at the scene, police said. Surveillance cameras are located in the area of the crime.
Father Larry Gosselin said "this is terrible and this is unthinkable." He was visibly sad at the damage to the sacred building but would pray for the person or persons responsible. "This is terrible and this is unthinkable," he said.
"This is my church. This is our church here in Santa Barbara. This is the church of the people," said parishioner Jeanne West. "Only someone with hatred in their hearts would do this."
Father Gosselin walked to the damaged doorway along in silence to inspect the damages up close.
This is not the first time Old Mission Santa Barbara has been vandalized. The bronze statue of Saint Junipero Serra at the Mission was vandalized in September of 2017. Story here.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.