A Frederick man was charged with malicious destruction of property after sheriff’s deputies linked him to a slew of racist graffiti found in the city and county.
Jose Margarito Guerra, 20, of the 100 block of Key Parkway, is charged with four counts of malicious destruction of property by the Frederick Police Department, as well as a single count of malicious destruction of property by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, according to an online search of court records Wednesday. All of the charges date back to June 27, when city police responded to multiple locations in Baker Park, including the covered bridge, the bandshell and the pump house at Culler Lake, all of which had been spray painted with “anti-police rhetoric and racial slurs,” according to a city police press release.
Charging documents filed in Frederick County District Court revealed that, while Frederick police were investigating the graffiti in the city, sheriff’s deputies were looking into similar graffiti left on a home on Woodridge Road in the Lake Linganore area on the same day.
A resident of the home identified several young people as potential suspects and, after speaking to two of the individuals, deputies identified Guerra and a juvenile female as the individuals who spray painted the slurs and messages on the home, the documents state. Because the graffiti was so similar to the messages and images found in the city, sheriff’s deputies reached out to city police before arranging an interview with Guerra, the documents state.
It was not immediately clear whether the juvenile female was charged as a result of the spray paint left on the home on Woodridge Road, but charging documents did indicate that the occupants of the home told deputies that they did not believe the graffiti was left on their home as a racist attack, despite one of the messages disparaging the Black Lives Matter movement.
During an interview with city police and sheriff’s deputies, Guerra eventually admitted to taking part in spray painting the house as well as the various spots in downtown Frederick, the documents state.
Police do not believe Guerra acted alone while leaving graffiti in the city, the release states. Anyone with any additional information, including the identities of other potential suspects, was asked to contact Officer First Class Bentley at 240-549-4534 or GBentley@frederickmdpolice.org.
Anonymous tips can also be left at 301-600-8477 (TIPS), texted to 240-674-8477 or sent by email to email@example.com.