Officials try to ID vandal who spray-painted slurs on school building

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ENCINITAS, Calif. — Authorities are asking for the public’s help identifying the person who vandalized an Encinitas high school last week.

The suspect is wanted for spray-painting “vulgar slurs” on the administration building at the San Dieguito Academy High School campus, 800 Santa Fe Drive, around 4 a.m. on New Year’s Day, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Surveillance footage also shows the suspect run away toward Santa Fe Drive. Deputies said the suspect is a man and was wearing a red sweatshirt, dark jeans and dark shoes at the time of the incident. No other description of the suspect is available.

Surveillance photos show two people accused of spray painting slurs on the side of a San Dieguito Academy High School campus building. (Photo: San Diego County Crime Stoppers)

The estimated cost of the damage is $750.

Anyone with more information can call Detective Monica De La Torre Chavez at 760-966-3504 or leave an anonymous tip at 888-580-8477.

Local leaders and students condemned the racist and homophobic graffiti tagging in interviews with FOX 5 earlier this week.

“As kids returned to schools after COVID, it has been insane,” Superintendent Cheryl James-Ward said, adding that “built-up trauma” is being released as students return to the classroom.

The superintendent believes the suspect is a youth due to their mannerisms and the way that they walk.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department deputies are looking into the incident as a potential hate crime. If the individual responsible is over the age of 18, they potentially could face a more severe punishment than just being expelled from school.

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