Tacoma police say they are investigating a possible hate crime that occurred overnight at a church in the 5500 block of North 44th Street.
Six windows were broken and possible hate-related paperwork was left at the scene, officers said, and a suspect was seen fleeing.
The church has a court order against a suspect who has vandalized the building several times, according to police, and the suspect was seen heading in the direction of the person’s house nearby.
Officers were not able to locate the suspect.
Department hate crime procedures were followed and the investigation is ongoing, police said.
Paul D’Andrea was at Holy Cross Catholic Church for Christmas Eve mass with his brother and nephew, and saw the broken windows, which he said were vandalized just after 10 p.m.
He sits on the parish council and was baptized at the church in 1970.
The same double-pane windows that line the west side of the parish hall have been broken several times this year, he said. He’s been told it costs thousands of dollars to replace them each time.
Mass isn’t held in the hall, but it’s where church goers gather for donuts and coffee afterward, and have other social gatherings, he said.
His preschool-aged daughter played the triangle and made camel noises there earlier this month as part of the church Christmas pageant, he said.
“We use it for everything you can imagine, whether it’s the pinochle tournament or St. Patty’s Day,” he added. Wedding and funeral receptions are also held in the hall.
“I talked to people after it happened last night on the way to the parking lot, and they were beside themselves. Why would you do this on Christmas?”