Vandals target historic church

The Rev. David Riley, pastor of Holy Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church, said vandals threw bricks that shattered window panes of the sanctuary on Bull Street in Charleston.

Tyrone Walker

The Rev. David Riley looked at the shattered row of 19th- century windows along the side of Holy Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church and shook his head.

Inside the church at 51 Bull St. in downtown Charleston, the bricks and rocks apparently thrown through windows in the early morning hours Wednesday lay among the pews, surrounded by shards of glass.

"I just don't get it," Riley said. "Why would you choose a church over anywhere else?"

One window of an unoccupied historic home undergoing renovation next door to the church also was broken.

At the church, all four windows on the east side of the building were damaged, with bricks having destroyed some of the framing, as well as the clear panes of glass.

"Those windows are as old as the church," said Riley, noting that the building was completed in 1880. "We've never had any problem (before), whatsoever."

"It could be anything — it could be Satan worship," he said. "I don't want to say it was racial, but we're the only black church around here."

Cindi Gasparre, president of the Harleston Village Neighborhood Association, said the sort of vandalism experienced by the church is unusual in the community, and she was surprised to learn about it. "It was probably some drunken young people," she said. "It sounds like an isolated incident."