Troopers Investigating Hate Crime In Wyoming County
MESHOPPEN TOWNSHIP — State police are trying to find the vandals who covered a man’s car and truck with racial slurs overnight in Wyoming County.
It was a shocking find for a man waking up to find his vehicles covered with threats and hate-filled vandalism. The man is black and says he doesn’t know who would be so hateful to leave such awful messages.
David Antonio says something similar to this happened to him before.
He moved to our area to work in the natural gas industry and says most neighbors in the Meshoppen area have been very kind to him. He can’t imagine who did this or why they would want to spew such hate.
The shock still hadn’t worn off for Antonio as he showed us his two vehicles covered in hate. He says his neighbors in Black Walnut found all this in the morning and pounded on his door.
“I got to the door and they said they wanted to show me something and when they showed me, I just panicked. I couldn’t believe what I saw,” David Antonio said. “It almost had me bent down to my knees because I just didn’t know why.”
The man was met with messages like “whites only.” His car and truck were covered with the n-word and other profanity.
And there was even a threat: “Get out, your dead,” spray-painted on the hood of his car.
“Somebody putting that I’m dead, I don’t think they’re taking it lightly, especially people carrying guns nowadays. That puts me in an uncomfortable state.”
Antonio says this vandalism goes far beyond just some prank. This hurt.
“This was more than a prank. The prank is not putting the words that are on there. But once they put the n-word and kept writing it on there and saying this is a white neighborhood, and basically, I shouldn’t be in it. That made me very uncomfortable.”
Antonio says he’s tried to be friendly with all his neighbors since moving to the Meshoppen area a couple years ago with the natural gas industry.
“I know my neighbors, a lot of them back and forth, and they’ve been very kind to me but that doesn’t mean someone here doesn’t like me and there’s nothing I can do about it,” Antonio said. “Just because of my skin color.”
David Osborne is one of many neighbors who showed up to express disgust and support.
“I feel terrible about it, obviously, but I’m not surprised,” said Osborne. “I not only think of him, I think of the person who did this. They have a tremendous amount of fear and ignorance. They’ve never had, I believe the word that could be used is a good shepherd.”
“People have this hang up about this color. I just don’t understand it, I don’t,” Antonio said.
David Antonio feels he must now take some precautions because of the threatening language on his vehicles.
State police at Tunkhannock are investigating the vandalism. If you have any information, give them a call at 570- 836-2141.