LGBT center in Oklahoma vandalized, staff harassed

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 7, 2017 at 3:45 p.m.



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TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Police are investigating after several shots from a pellet gun were fired at the Equality Center in Tulsa, marking the first serious vandalism at the center since it opened to support the local LGBT community 12 years ago.

A surveillance video shows several shots were fired from a white four-door truck on Monday at about 12:20 a.m. Later that day, a man walked into the center yelling profanities at the staff, the Tulsa World (http://bit.ly/2mihs55 ) reported.

Tulsa police said 13 pellets were found around the front door and windows of the center. The pellets did not penetrate the reinforced window but marked the first serious vandalism since Oklahomans for Equality opened the facility, according to Toby Jenkins, the center's executive director.

"I am sickened, yet not surprised, by the bullet holes that now riddle the front of the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center," Geoffrey Brewster, Oklahomans for Equality board president, said in a statement. "They are the latest reminder of the deep-seated hatred some individuals have towards the LGBTQ community."

The center's staff was harassed later the same day by a man who walked into the facility using abusive language. The man described himself as a veteran and yelled, "I wish you would all die," according to Jenkins. Jenkins said the man quickly left as he approached him.

"It was so brazen, I thought it was a joke," Jenkins said. "I didn't know him, but then I realized he was serious."

Jenkins said other people have harassed the center before, but that the Monday incident was especially bad because the staff was "already super tense and nervous" after finding the pellet-gun damage to the front windows.

Tulsa police are asking the public to call in any tips.

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Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

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The Associated Press

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