An Army reservist on Long Island says he woke up Monday morning to see hateful words spray-painted in bright red on his property.
Bryant Walker, who served one tour in Iraq, said someone went to his house on Moriches Road in Mastic Beach overnight and spray painted the n-word on his fence and on his boat. The vandal or vandals also defaced two of his cars.
"It's a total violation," said Walker, who works full-time for New York City Transit.
Walker did not hear anything unusual, and his pit bull never barked overnight, but he believes his home was vandalized in the early morning hours. His 8-year-old daughter Bryanna saw the hateful words on her way to school.
"At first she said, you know, 'Whoever wrote that, I hate them.' And I said, 'Don't hate them, Bryanna,'" said Walker. "They're ignorant, you can't hate people like that. Just try to understand what they did, and what they did was bad."
Suffolk County Police said they were investigating the vandalism as a hate crime and were looking into whether the criminal mischief is linked to another act of vandalism on Sayville Road, where someone also spray painted a hateful statement in red.
Walker said he saw police take paint chips from the fence and the boat to be sent to a lab for analysis, and police are also looking for security cameras in the neighborhood that may have captured whoever is responsible.
The Walkers have lived in Mastic Beach for two years and say they have always felt welcome. The family says they have never had any disputes with their neighbors. Now they wonder if they are safe in their home.
Walker said he was "more disappointed than mad."
"It's just unfortunate in this day and age that people do stupid things like that," he said.