WSU student speaks out after car vandalized with slurs - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

WSU student speaks out after car vandalized with slurs

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PULLMAN, Wash. -

A Washington State University Students is responding to what Pullman Police are calling a hate crime, with love.

John Kraus woke up last week to messages of discrimination.

His car was the canvas, the tool used against him – red spray paint.

“It was very jarring to see those words on my car,” said Kraus. “First I was confused and angry at what had happened.”

The homophobic slurs were written on Kraus’ car sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Pullman Police are investigating it as a hate crime.

“It was definitely somebody making threats based on what they believe was the victims sexual orientation,” said Detective Sgt. Jake Opgenorth. “Right now we don’t have any active leads to work on so we’re hoping that the public with any information can share that and we can pursue those leads.”

Kraus says an officer from the PPD actually helped clean the graffiti off of his car.

“It was really cool because so many people saw what happened and they wanted to changed it and make it alright,” said Kraus. “It's been truly overwhelming so many people that I don't even know have been contacting me saying that they're there for me that they're willing to support me.”

At first Kraus didn’t know how to respond. But when he saw how others did, he wanted to teach a message of love.

He posted the pictures of his car on his Facebook page along with the words “Consider this my call to arms against hate!”

“I didn't really expect anything really to come out of it,” said Kraus. “I just knew that making it public would make more people see it and I thought that would have a more positive outcome than trying to hide it. If we fight hate with violence then we're no better than the people who are giving that hatred.”

Kraus wants everyone who feels like they’re a victim of discrimination that they’re not alone, and just like the hurtful words written on his car, hate is only temporary.

“To everyone who feels unsafe and you don't have someone to go to, you do,” said Kraus. “You have an ally, even if that’s just me or an entire community, you have someone out there to who is willing to love and support you.”

Pullman Police released the following statement:

"Please remember that we share this community with many people from different cultural, ethnic, religious, educational, and ideological backgrounds," the department said on their Facebook page Monday morning. "It is important to be respectful of our neighbors and the diversity that makes Washington State University and the greater Pullman community such dynamic, thriving environments in which to live and learn. We want to assure Pullman residents and students that hate crimes will not be tolerated. Pullman PD is committed to doing everything that we can to find those responsible for this act, and to assure the safety of our community and its people."

Police are asking anyone with information that may help them find the person or persons responsible, to call them at 509-334-0802.

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