Police are investigating the vandalism of Mission San Jose in Fremont, California as a hate crime.
In a July 4 statement, police confirmed that someone painted “Native Land” in red paint on the mission during the night.
“The Fremont Police Department takes these matters seriously and will dedicate appropriate resources to this investigation. Fremont does not tolerate hate and will ask the Alameda County District Attorney to fully prosecute those who are found responsible for this crime,” the statement said.
Several volunteers spent their July 4 holiday cleaning up the vandalism, according to The Mercury News.
“This is a Catholic Church, this is where I pray,” Andrew Galvan told the newspaper. “Not only is this vandalism, this is desecration of a sacred site.”
Mission San Jose was founded by Spanish Franciscan Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen in 1797, the 14th Spanish Mission to be established in California.
The vandalism follows several attacks on statues of Spanish missionary St. Junipero Serra, who established the first nine California missions, over his alleged ill treatment of Native Americans.