A Calgary man has been charged in connection with the vandalism two churches earlier this summer.
The churches were among nearly a dozen in the city that were vandalized in the fallout of the discovery of unmarked graves at sites of former residential schools.
Several churches were targeted with red and orange paint, and one had windows smashed and paint splashed inside, on the night of June 30.
Handprints, the number 215 and other markings made in paint led investigators to believe the vandalism was related to the residential schools discoveries.
In July, police released CCTV photos of people believed to be involved, however, detectives still couldn’t make a positive identification of a suspect.
Then in August, while responding to an unrelated incident, police said an officer noticed a person who closely resembled the person in the CCTV footage, which led to more information coming to light.
Sebastian Rodrigues-Huerta has been charged with mischief to a property primarily used for religious worship in relation to the vandalism of two churches.
“It is alleged that these incidents also meet the threshold of being hate-motivated crimes,” police said.
Investigators are still working to identify suspects in the vandalism of the other churches, and the police service said it’s “fully committed to working towards peaceful reconciliation and a recognition of our past, while still performing our duties of upholding the law and protecting public safety.”
“Our investigators are very dedicated to the work that they do and continue looking for new leads even when a case seems to have gone cold,” Staff Sgt. Kurt Jacobs said.
“When we do get new information, it often breathes new life into an investigation as it did in this case.”
Anyone with information that could help the investigation is asked to contact police at 403-266-1234 or to contact Crime Stoppers.