Hurd Library Graffiti Cleanup

Glen Perry (from left), Johnny Washington and Randy Moultrie, with Charleston County Facilities, clean off graffiti that was spray-painted on the Cynthia Graham Hurd St. Andrews Regional Library on Monday, March 13, 2017. Vandals tagged the building over the weekend. Brad Nettles/Staff

Police are investigating racist and anti-gay graffiti at three West Ashley locations, including at a library named after Emanuel AME Church shooting victim Cynthia Hurd.

"There’s no place for this sort of deplorable act in our community," Charleston County Councilman Vic Rawl said. "Our libraries are places of education and growth for children, and we’ll assist law enforcement in any way possible."

Rawl said in a statement that the vandalism at the library is "unfortunate and sad."

Hurd was the library's manager. After her death, the library was renamed to Cynthia Graham Hurd St. Andrews Regional Library. One of the statements sprayed on library property targeted black women specifically.

Dylann Roof was sentenced to death in January for the mass shooting at Emanuel AME in June 2015.

Natalie Hauff, public relations manager for the Charleston County Public Library, said staff reported the graffiti to police when they arrived at work about 9 a.m. Monday morning. Hauff said crews spent several hours cleaning the graffiti off the sidewalk, a column and a wall.

"We were disappointed to see that someone would deface a cherished public institution such as our library," Hauff said. 

The statements spray-painted over the weekend contain profane, racist and homophobic slurs. They are directed at a range of people, including blacks, whites and the police. 

"We’re taking it all very seriously," Charles Francis, spokesman for the Charleston Police Department, said. No suspects have been identified at this point, Francis said. 

Officers were at a house on Playground Road earlier in the morning to respond to a similar report. A vandal spray-painted racial slurs on the house and profanity on the homeowner's vehicle, according to a police report. Residents of the home discovered the graffiti early Monday and told police the vandal must have sprayed sometime during the night.

The two cases of vandalism officers responded to Monday morning came after police found similar graffiti at the W.L. Stephens Aquatic Center early Friday. Someone had used black spray paint on the basketball court and a storage shed.

The three locations where vandalism was reported are within a few miles of each other. Officers are still trying to determine if the incidents are related, according to a report from the Charleston Police Department.  

Francis encouraged the public to call 843-743-7200 and ask for a detective or call Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111 if they have any information about the vandalism.

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.