Two Massachusetts teenagers are accused of vandalizing a mosque by writing “USA” all over it. The incident occurred on Halloween night with Derrik DeMone and Cameron Capella, both 18, being arrested on the evening of November 1. Both are facing charges of malicious destruction of property and tagging, according to police in Burlington.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Eggs Were Smashed Against the Mosque
A Burlington Police Department statement said that DeMone and Capella were arrested after “several leads from the community.” That communique added that police were called to the Islamic Center of Burlington at 1:45 a.m. on November 1. The letters “USA” had been spray painted around the premises with eggs also smashed against the building.
Burlington Police Chief Michael Kent said in a statement “We were able to quickly close this shameful case involving a hate crime in our community. This behavior is not tolerated in town and the suspects will be held responsible for their actions.” WCVB reports that surveillance footage from the scene shows the two suspects in the area around the mosque for around 20 minutes. The car they were driving was a Ford Crown Victoria.
2. In His Defense, DeMone Said ‘I’m Just a Kid’
Both DeMone and Capella were arraigned at Woburn District Court on November 2, reports Boston.com. Speaking to reporters as he left the courthouse, DeMone said “I apologize for my actions. It won’t happen again. I’m just a kid.”
3. DeMone Is a Donald Trump Supporter
On DeMone’s Twitter page, he writes as his description “The lion does not concern himself with the opinions of sheep.” He also shows himself to be a supporter of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. One message he retweeted from a friend read “Thank God, [Donald Trump] is running for office.”
In the wake of the vandalization of the mosque, the executive director of the Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, John Robbins, told the Lowell Sun:
With national political figures falsely claiming that American Muslims cannot be patriotic citizens, it is not surprising that Islamic institutions are targeted by those emboldened by the mainstreaming of Islamophobia. We ask that state and federal law-enforcement authorities investigate the apparent bias motive for this attack on a house of worship and that our nation’s leaders speak out against growing anti-Muslim bigotry.
4. The 2 Graduated High School Together
According to his Facebook page, Cappella is a native of Burlington, Massachusetts. Both suspects are graduates of Burlington High School. The Lowell Sun reports that the mosque in Burlington was vandalized in 2013 with similar tagging.
5. This Is the Second High Profile Hate Crime in Massachusetts in 2015
This is the second high-profile hate crime in Massachusetts in 2015. The Boston Globe reported in April that two men, Scott and Steve Leader, were accused of beating a Mexican immigrant with a metal pole and then urinating on him. One of the brothers, Scott, told police as he was taken away “Donald Trump was right; all these illegals need to be deported.”