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Victoria police investigate graffiti at downtown cathedral as hate crime

Victoria police have released surveillance video of what they’re calling a hate crime targeting St. Andrew’s Cathedral at View and Blanshard streets.

Victoria police have released surveillance video of what they’re calling a hate crime targeting St. Andrew’s Cathedral at View and Blanshard streets.

The video shows two people spraying graffiti and doing “other damage” to the ­19th-century cathedral just after 11 p.m. on Sept. 12. Police declined to give details of the nature of the other damage. The words “killer” and “racist” were previously reported as being painted in red on the cathedral’s exterior.

The vandalism took place at the same time as similar damage to places of worship in Oak Bay and Saanich, said police spokesman Bowen Osoko.

Osoko said targeting places of worship for a political purpose — to cause fear — is against the Criminal Code and fits the definition of a hate crime.

“The nature of the targeting and some of the damage done certainly meets that standard,” he said.

Cameras show both suspects, along with two witnesses who were in the area.

A piece of footage shows a male witness talking to one of the suspects. The witness is then approached by the second ­suspect, who appears to be ­acting as a lookout.

Police want to talk to the witness, who is not believed to be involved. A female witness is also being sought.

In the Oak Bay incident, graffiti was sprayed on several walls in the municipality, especially in the area of Eastdowne Road and Carnarvon Park. The targets included St. Philip Anglican Church on Eastdowne, with “Land back” among the ­messages left.

Graffiti was also sprayed at Lansdowne Middle School.

Call Victoria police at ­250-995-7654, extension 1, with any information, or report anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

jbell@timescolonist.com