Vallejo police investigate racist graffiti as hate crime

A Vallejo man is speaking out after finding racist graffiti spray painted at Blue Rock Springs Park where he takes his daily walks.

"I was walking up here. I looked and I saw the sign right here: the "n" word, we're coming to kill you," said Reginald Lewis.

He said he was shocked by what he saw.  It was 8:45 Wednesday morning when he saw the hate messages and a swastika spray painted outside the restrooms.

The 65-year-old Vallejo native said he's been visiting this park for years and has never seen anything like this before. 

"I took a couple of pictures, looked around and said, let me get out of here." said Lewis.

On his way out, he flagged down a park employee who told him the police had  been called.

The offensive graffiti was quickly painted over.

"I was shocked. I'm like wooh, wait a minute," said Lewis.  Shocking because this park is a beautiful refuge for many families in a community known for its diversity.

"This type of hate is actually in the city of Vallejo which is a multicultural city, a melting pot. We're not going to have it here," said Lewis.  

The retired BART employee said he posted his photos on social media and word spread quickly.

It led to people dropping off messages of love and support including a sign made by an 11-year-old girl who came to the park with her mother.  

"She really wanted to do something when she heard about what happened this morning. She was really upset. We did whatever we could," said Emily Parker about her daughter's sign that reads: Black Lives Matter.

Vallejo Police are investigating this as a hate crime. Chief Shawny Williams wrote in a statement, "This was an evil, despicable act and these types of crimes will not be tolerated in our community."

Lewis said he's speaking out in hopes that it will shine a light on the need to fight racism.

"Let's illuminate this. Let's get it out in the open. Let's have these discussions and let's get rid of this hatred," said Lewis.    

It appears the person responsible for the graffiti  may have left behind evidence. A KTVU crew found a spray paint can near the site of the vandalism and notified police. 

Lewis takes comfort in the community coming out to support him: "It makes me feel good. We have good people here. We have more good people here than bad people."

Lewis said he wants whoever's responsible to be arrested and charged with a hate crime.

He plans to be right back at the park every morning for his daily walk.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to 
contact the Vallejo Police Department Crime Tip Line at 1-800 488-9383 or Officer Smith with the Detective Division at 707-648-4080.