‘Gruesome’ Halloween vandalism reported at downtown Lawrence church
The morning after Halloween, Trinity Episcopal Church employees arrived to discover a second-floor window broken out and red paint — or was it fake blood? — splattered throughout their building.
“It’s incredibly upsetting — even though thankfully nothing of tremendous value was destroyed — to walk into a place that’s your home and place where you come together to worship … and find much of it covered in what appears to be fake blood,” Rector Rob Baldwin said.
“You think to yourself, ‘Where is this hatred coming from, and why has this happened?'”
Baldwin said whoever vandalized his church, at 1011 Vermont St., would have had to climb on a steep section of roof to access and break the second-story window.
As for the paint, it seemed tacky and glossy, more like fake blood than just red paint, he said. None marred the main sanctuary or sacristy of the church, as doors into those areas were locked.
But there was paint in a women’s bathroom, hallways, on books that had been dumped out of shelves in the library, in the atrium, in Sunday school rooms, in a meeting room and other areas.
There did not appear to be any words or symbols painted, Baldwin and office manager Sheryl Poole said.
“They just splatted red paint all over the walls,” Poole said. “Nothing was written, just splattered paint. It was like somebody had taken a paintbrush, maybe, and just flipped paint on the walls.”
Poole said the paint did seem to be washable, and that volunteers from the church planned to meet Saturday morning to clean it all up.
While it’s not clear why the church was targeted, the act was obviously intended to upset the congregation, and it has, Baldwin said.
“It’s gruesome,” he said. “You don’t know who did it, or why. You don’t know if they’ll be back.”
A burglary at the church was reported to Lawrence police Wednesday morning, Sgt. Amy Rhoads said. Rhoads said late Thursday that police reports from the incident were not yet completed and that she could not immediately provide more information.
Another burglary was reported the same morning at 1244 Kentucky St., Rhoads said.
That is the location of the St. John Catholic School preschool, located in the St. John the Evangelist Catholic Parish complex.
Rhoads said she did not have additional information on the Kentucky Street incident, and the Journal-World was not immediately able to reach representatives of the church Friday morning.
Baldwin said he had heard the vandalism at St. John was similar, and wondered whether the two incidents could be related.