LOS GATOS, Calif. - Authorities have several strong leads identifying the vandals who egged and tagged homophobic and racial slurs at Los Gatos High School.
The principal said at least 15 people went to town vandalizing the high school Sunday night. He plans to hold every person accountable.
"Our campus custodians arrived at 6 a.m. and they were the first ones to see what had happened the previous night," said Los Gatos High School Principal Kevin Buchanan.
Buchanan said what custodians saw was almost every building of Los Gatos High School had been egged including a display of student artwork.
Also, a giant 530-pound pumpkin a student grew that had been a winner at this year’s Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival had been destroyed.
"Students really respected it because they knew it was one of their classmates who did it," said Buchanan. "But a group came by that night and were fooling around over here and smashed it. It was a different group that did the graffiti."
He said the graffiti said homophobic and racist slurs toward African Americans. He said it was too disturbing to show as some of it targeted specific teachers.
"There’s a little bit of anger," said Buchanan. "There’s a great deal of sadness that this is still going on in this day and age."
Principal Buchanan suspects three separate groups did damage, unbeknownst to the other, coming in waves between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
Surveillance video shows those who egged and tagged the school were equipped with camera phones and hitting record. The principal suspects the videos will pop up on social media.
"It’s disappointing because I expect this to be one of the elite communities and behavior like that seems like it's uncalled for," said Pratap Whig of San Jose.
The principal said the culprits wore masks and hoodies and looked young, high school students or recent grads.
He’s alerted the school community and has since received helpful tips and support.
He said the behavior does not represent the entire student body but an element that needs to be stopped immediately.
"Let’s just fight this and let’s fight it together," said Buchanan.
The principal said similar graffiti has appeared throughout town. Police are now investigating if they’re connected and said those responsible could face hate crime charges.
Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.