A surveillance image of the one of the hate crime suspects. Courtesy San Diego Police

Authorities reached out to the public Thursday for help in identifying a potential suspect in a suspected case of hate-crime vandalism in Hillcrest.

The San Diego Police Department Thursday morning released a surveillance photo of a second unidentified “person of interest” in the Jan. 23 crime, which left Black Lives Matter signs at a nightclub in the 1000 block of University Avenue and a church in the 3900 block of Cleveland Avenue splattered with pink paint.

The indistinct image depicts a pedestrian on a darkened roadside, wearing dark-colored pants and a hooded jacket with the cowl pulled up.

“These criminal acts are being investigated as hate crimes,” SDPD Lt. Shawn Takeuchi said.

On Wednesday, Mayor Todd Gloria, Police Chief David Nisleit and other local civic and government leaders gathered to condemn the acts of malicious property damage and to seek tips from the public.

“This was more than vandalism — this was an attack on our community,” Gloria said. “We will not shrug off hate against any San Diegan. Racism and bigotry in any form will not be tolerated in our city. We will identify (those) responsible for these hateful acts and hold them accountable.”

Gloria and Nisleit were joined at the news conference by City Council President Jennifer Campbell, Council President Pro-Tem Stephen Whitburn, City Attorney Mara Elliot, University Christian Church senior pastor Rev. Caleb Lines, Rich’s nightclub owner Ryan Bedrosian, San Diego Pride chair and director of diversity and community life at The Bishop’s School David Thompson Jr., and San Diego Pride Executive Director Fernando Zweifach Lopez.

“Hateful acts of any kind will not be tolerated in our communities,” Nisleit said. “I encourage any community member to contact the Police Department if they believe they have been a victim of hate so that all allegations can be thoroughly investigated and victims can seek justice.”

–City News Service

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