Update: Kentucky State Police (KSP) says hate crime charges could face the individual responsible for vandalism of a South Portsmouth, Ky. gas station.
“If a suspect is developed through investigation, than we will seek counsel with the county attorney to see what other charges can be sought under Kentucky Law,” stated
Trooper Patrick Hamilton with the Kentucky State Police.
Hamilton also recognized the local efforts of those who came out in support of the business by saying, “I think it’s amazing that the community came together for the business owner.”
Scioto County Candor
Local residents joined together Saturday morning to show that love conquers hate after hearing of an attack on a local business.
Wednesday night a gas station in Greenup County, Ky. was vandalized, with the entire front spray painted with racial slurs and hate speech including phrases such as “white power” and swastikas. Store owner Gary Singh, who immigrated to the United States from India in the 1990s, discovered the attack on his business Thursday morning. The story of the vandalism quickly hit social media, where Portsmouth residents Mike Doherty and Jason Whisman heard the news.
Doherty, who is also a local muralist, explained that when he heard what happened, he had to help.
“If you have a conscience, when you see something like this, you have to do something about it,” the humanitarian commented.
Doherty reached out to Whisman, and the two set out to put a fresh coat of paint on the facade of the Kentucky gas station. Doherty stated that he first called Sherwin Williams, who recommended the using graffiti remover instead and donated supplies to help get the job done.
Doherty and Whisman worked with a small group of volunteers on Saturday morning. After several hours working out in frigid temperatures, the group was able to remove enough of the graffiti that no hate speech could be read.
“It worked okay,” Doherty explained, “but the patina of the building is pretty much ruined.”
Doherty stated that he will likely return in the summer to paint the storefront as well.
“It is just too cold to paint right now,” he added.
Whisman explained that he was happy to be a part of the project.
“Everybody likes Gary and knows him in the community,” Whisman commented. “He’s here trying to run a business, and we just felt it was important at this time to show him a little support, to show him that he’s not alone in this.”
Singh was busy cooking for the Saturday afternoon lunch rush; however, the volunteers said he was gracious for the kindness he was shown.
“I’m sure he has felt isolated through this,” Doherty stated. “I saw him tear up a little when we showed up to help. He’s definitely grateful.”
Security footage shows a person in a ski mask vandalizing the store just after 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday night, WSAZ reported.