Neighbors, victim react to possible hate crime in Junction City

Local and federal law enforcement are working to determine if the racial slur and swastika on this building is related to the racial slur and swastika on the building that burned on West 7th earlier this month.

Posted: Jul 30, 2018 7:15 PM
Updated: Jul 30, 2018 7:19 PM

JUNCTION CITY, Ore. -- Residents and neighbors said they have no idea who painted a racial slur and swastika on a commercial building being used as a residence in Junction City.

Local and federal law enforcement are working to determine if the racial slur and swastika on the West 6th Avenue building is related to the racial slur and swastika on the building that burned on West 7th Avenue earlier this month.

RELATED: Possible hate crime being investigated in Junction City

Junction City Police Chief Robert Morris says they are not completely ruling out the idea that these incidences are related.

RELATED: Crews respond to explosive fire in Junction City

Kevin and Mary Ferrell, who live across the street from the residence, said they have no idea who could've done this but said they notice a lot of foot traffic in the alley behind their house.

They said as soon as they noticed the graffiti, they couldn't believe people would target minorities in this way.

"I pride myself on, you know, I have a working background of working in a very diverse and ethnically competent culture, and I just expect people to think and behave the way I do and that may be an unrealistic, obviously unrealistic expectation," Mary Ferrell said.

"It would be kinda disheartening this day in age, you know, you figured we'd be past this by now at this point, but like I said, it's really sad," Kevin Ferrell said.

The owner of the home, Joselyn Garcia said she absolutely believes there's a link between the swastika and racial slur that was painted on her home this weekend and similar hate graffiti on the building that burned on West 7th Avenue.

Garcia said in the 11 years she's lived in Junction City, she's never seen anything like this.

She said her 11-year-old old son saw the photos of the graffiti and wants answers.

"With him being a male black child, he's already gonna be aware of racism," Garcia said. "That's something I had to teach him as soon as he could walk and talk, and it's just something that makes us angry. He wants to know obviously who did this and he feels powerless."

Anyone with additional information is asked to call the Junction City Police Department.

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