crime scene

From Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office

Four juveniles were charged after they allegedly wrote racially-insensitive comments in Bibles and doors of an African-American church and stole property Tuesday, sheriff’s officials said.

Deputy Shawn Matthews responded to the Walnut Grove Missionary Baptist Church where he found “KKK” written in Bibles and “we are white and we are watching you, white power” written on the doors of the predominantly African-American church, reported Sgt. Derek Oeser.

Damage to the church was extensive and included overflowing toilets with water damage at the Twin Oak Drive location.

“With the help of citizens, Deputy Matthews developed two suspects and located the juveniles nearby,” Oeser reported. “Items stolen included a laptop computer and video camera.”

Matthews charged the two boys ages 14 and 16 with burglary, theft and vandalism Tuesday. A video camera stolen from church was found in the woods behind the church.

Detective Jamin Humphress arrested two more boys, ages 15 and 16, with burglary and vandalism Wednesday morning.

Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh said he appreciated the manner deputies and detectives responded swiftly.

“They quickly addressed these insensitive and disturbing hate crimes at a place of worship,” Fitzhugh said.

Humphress said he worked with a school resource officer to identify the two other juvenile suspects.

He plans to speak with the District Attorney’s Office about additional charges.

The two juveniles arrested Tuesday were released from the Juvenile Detention Center. They were expected to be in Juvenile Court Monday.

Court hearings are pending for the two juveniles arrested Wednesday.