CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) -- The Chula Vista Police Department is looking for vandals after discovering hate speech spray-painted on two school campuses on Halloween night. Community leaders are now planning to hold a regional anti-hate symposium.
In a somber tone, Chula Vista City Councilman Stephen Padilla personally addressed the vandals, who, according to police, broke windows and spray-painted homophobic and anti-Semitic messages on both his alma maters, Bonita Vista Middle School and Bonita Vista High School.
One door at the Highschool's Physics classroom had a swastika, the word 'Mr. Hitler,' and an X over the word 'Jews.' Chula Vista Polie investigators said they believe the graffiti at both schools are related, because the same colors of spray paint were used at both campuses.
"In the moment that you did this, you expressed something that has caused pain in our world on a level and on a scale that you probably don't understand," Padilla said.
Jewish and LGBTQ leaders denounced the act, saying this is not a simple prank.
"You have not succeeded in achieving anything other than uniting people of good hearts and goodwill in this community, this county, the city, and the school," Rabbi Devorah Marcus of Temple Emanu-El said. "We stand together in solidarity to say we reject your hate."
According to Chula Vista Police, the number of reported hate crimes has increased almost sevenfold in the last two years.
"Where is all this hate coming from?" Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas asked. "What are all these groups doing to you that is diminishing your quality of life? And I think that they have to say 'Absolutely nothing.'"
This unfortunate incident has inspired these community leaders to create a symposium for professionals from all across the board come together to combat hate.
"Too often we are separated, and we work in silos, and hate and discrimination seek to divide us and destroy us. And the reality is there is no single issue because none of us live in single-issue lives," Executive Director of Pride San Diego, Fernando Zweifach López Jr., said. López identifies as a Latino-American Jewish queer person.
Padilla's final message to the vandals was that love always beats hate.
"Just know that there is a community that will love you too, and welcomes you too, to dialogue and fellowship and love," Padilla said to the vandals.
The vandalism cost $2,600, but it was quickly repaired before students arrived on campus. If anyone has information on the crimes, contact Lt. Dan Peak with the Chula Vista Police Department at 619-585-5670. Students can also use the 'P3' app or the 'Students-Speaking-Out' app. All tips can be made anonymously.