March 20, 2017 06:14 AM
Residents in Delano want to make it crystal clear they do not support racist behavior or actions.
Hundreds of people gathered Sunday night outside of city hall for a vigil after the Wright County Sheriff's Office said a black family was the victim of targeted, racist graffiti.
According to investigators, someone broke into the Douglas home on the 200 block of 2nd St. SW in Delano last Sunday, painting racist, hateful remarks on the walls and ransacking the home.
Resident Mark Hemingway saw many of the photos of the damage in the days after the incident.
"I couldn't believe this was happening," Hemingway said.
Delano Mayor Dale Graunke said what happened to the Douglas family is a tragedy.
"This is really dark cloud," Graunke said in an interview before the vigil. "It's hate in its worst form."
Graunke helped organize the community gathering days after the crime. He said it was important to respond and show the Douglas family the town stands with them.
Many people wrote messages for the family on a poster, reading "Delano United." Others had candid conversations with their kids about the incident and why it was wrong.
Graunke said the community's reaction and support of the family was exactly what he'd expected to happen.
"The response has been overwhelming," Graunke said. "People have donated clothing. They've tried to replace some of the things that were stolen from the children."
But missing from the crowd Sunday night was the Douglas family. They've decided to move away from Delano after what happened.
"It's understandable," Graunke said. "If that's what works the best for their family, that's good. But I'd have loved to see the opportunity for them to see what Delano had to offer them."
The Douglas family reportedly moved into the new home in December 2016.
The Wright County Sheriff's Office is still searching for suspects in the case.
Updated: March 20, 2017 06:14 AM
Created: March 19, 2017 09:31 PM
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