After surveying the damage to the windows and door at OUR Center, the Reno GBTQA Community Center, Board President Jeromy Manke estimated the damage done by a ski masked vandal on Tuesday January 2 at about 7 pm, at between $7,500 to $10,000. The amount is simply a guesstimate until the cost of the replacement windows and door is known.
“We are somewhat in shock,” Manke said to multiple news outlets as all three network local television stations and the Reno Gazette-Journal covered the crime. ” Witnesses in the building said a man in what appeared to be a ski mask approached the building and yelled “Get Down” and then hurled rocks at the windows sending glass everywhere.”
Initial reports thought it might have been gun fire. That is incorrect
information. Four rocks were found in the Center. Three of them were taken into custody by Reno Police as evidence, According to RPD spokesman Tim Broadway.
“Right now, we are investigating the incident as a destruction of property,” Broadway said. “We are in the early stages of the investigation. But the search is on for the person(s) responsible.”
Reno Police are reaching out to the community and looking at businesses in the area for possible video footage. Officer Broadway says the community can contact the police department if they saw anything around the time of the incident last night on South Wells Ave.. The investigation is on going.
The damage would need to exceed $3,500 to be a felony. Under that it is a gross misdemeanor according to Broadway. However when all the facts are gathered and an arrest made, a determination will be made as to what the charges will be.
The incident is not being treated as a hate crime, at present, as it is unknown if the perpetrator is a member of the GLBTQA community or what the motive was. Police will investigate the incident throughly according to Officer Broadway.
People in the building fell to the floor and took cover behind whatever they could find in the immediate chaos and shock following the attack, according to witness reports Manke said. Volunteers immediate notified Reno Police Department about the incident, who sent patrol cars to the Center. There were no injuries to anyone who was at the Center.
“We will be open as usual,” Manke said. “This won’t deter our mission to serve, to build, to strengthen the community.”
After arriving at the Center last night, Northern Nevada Pride Marketing Director YeVonne Allen took to Facebook Live with a video showing the damage done at the Center. The video has gone viral and viewed over 20,000 times (as of 1pm) and shared nearly 500 times in a effort to find the perpetrator.
“We are here at OUR Center, even in our little city this still happens,” Ms. Allen said while shooting the video to let the community know what happened. “…it sort of goes to show then even in what we think is progressive Reno, that we are getting so much better, so excepting, that there are people with so much hate in there hearts out there.”
Reaction in the local community was a state of shock and disbelief. :What the hell” said several Facebook posts. Another asked “how could this happen?” People wanted to know if everyone was okay. There was genuine community concern.
“We are sad,” Manke said in the Facebook video. “We wanted OUR Center to be a safe place.”
Meredith Tanzer, Vice-President and Director of the Center’s Programming said “…just really sad!”
Manke said they are working to find out the cost to replace the glass and they do have insurance with a deductible. However the Center operates on donations from the community and is seeking donation to assist with the cost to replace the windows. Those interested can visit the OUR Center Reno Facebook page for a link to their Razoo fund raising site.
This is an on going story.