Man arrested for spray-painting swastikas at Providence College
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE): Providence Police have identified the man they say spray-painted swastikas on gravestones at Providence College on Monday night.
According to police, Keveon Gomera, 26, was charged with vandalism and assault with intent to commit a felony.
Police say Gomera spray-painted swastikas, defaced multiple gravestones, then attempted to set a grass area on fire at the Dominican Cemetery on campus. According to a spokesperson for Providence College, the central cross and seven headstones were defaced. Providence College has repaired the damage.
While a college public safety officer tried to question the suspect, Gomera struck one officer in the head and ran away, according to police. The officer was treated for his injuries at the hospital and later released.
The campus was locked down with a shelter in place order once it was confirmed that the suspect may have been hiding on campus, according to Steven Maurano, a spokesperson for Providence College.
The Providence Police Department said over a dozen police officers searched for Gomera, until they found him hiding in shrubs on campus. The shelter in place order was lifted before 11:30 p.m.
Providence College released the following statement:
We loudly and unequivocally condemn this racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic action, and the desecration of the gravestones of our beloved, deceased Dominicans who served Providence College so well and so faithfully for many years. In addition, we condemn this action in support and solidarity with the Jewish members of our community, many of whom enjoyed the friendship of those late Dominican friars. PC has a long and proud history of collaboration with the Jewish community in Rhode Island. Our Jewish-Catholic Theological Exchange is a significant part of campus life, and has promoted interreligious learning, understanding, and friendship between Christians and Jews for decades. Our community embraces love and mutual respect for all people; there is no place for hatred on our campus.