Police ask for public's help finding vandal who lit LGBT mural on fire

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) -- Police in San Francisco are saying the person who set fire to this now-scarred gay-themed mural in the Mission is dangerous and they are asking for the public's help in catching him.

Police recently released surveillance video showing what happened just after 11 p.m. on June 29th. A man dressed in a hoodie walks up to the mural on Bryant Street near 24th street.

"He starts to throw a chemical right at the mural. Drops the bottle. Drops the match. Picks it up and boom there it goes," said San Francisco Police Spokesman Carlos Manfredi.

A second camera, mounted overhead, also recorded the suspect setting the fire.

"If anyone was in that building, it could have been life threatening," said Manfredi.

The mural depicts two same sex couples and a transgender man. The mural was also defaced three times by spray paint.

Galeria De La Raza, which sponsored the mural, has covered the cost of fixing the painting each time.

Police did not investigate those acts of vandalism as hate crimes. This time they are.

"Whether this person is the same as the other we are not sure yet. But go from spray cans and markers to chemicals to light the mural on fire, that takes it to a new level," said Manfredi.

Galeria De La Raza issued a statement calling the vandalism and arson acts of aversion against LGBT visibility.

"However, these actions have also created channels of communication between sectors of our communities that need to be heard," the statement read in part.

Many neighbors expressed outrage over what happened. One man says he wants to turn a negative into something positive.

"I plan to ask my lover to marry me, after being with him so many years, right there," said nearby resident Jesus Santiago.

Galeria De La Raza plans to host a community forum and hopes those opposed to the mural will participate.

Police are asking anyone who knows the person in the video to call them immediately.