San Diego Cathedral Defaced With Biden 2020, Swastika and BLM Graffiti

Unidentified individuals spray-painted the exterior wall of a cathedral in California's San Diego County over the weekend. The individuals responsible for the graffiti, and their motive for targeting the religious building, are unknown.

The drawings and messages written along the wall, as well as folding tables and stretches of pavement surrounding St. Peter's Chaldean Catholic Cathedral in El Cajon, ranged from symbols of hate to expressions of political and social advocacy.

"I woke up this morning to see our Cathedral defaced with pentagrams, upside down crosses, white power, swastikas, BLM, etc.," wrote Daniel Shaba, a priest at the Southern California cathedral, tweeted on Saturday. He shared the message alongside a video of the building's exterior, which was covered in swastika symbols, one pentagram drawing and various phrases such as "Biden 2020," "White Power" and "BLM."

I woke up this morning to see our Cathedral defaced with pentagrams, upside down crosses, white power, swastikas, BLM, etc. It reminded me to pray for my brethren in Iraq that are facing persecution. Pray for the criminals who did this.

— Fr. Daniel Shaba (@FrDanielShaba) September 26, 2020

"It's very confusing when you saw the graffiti, because it had things that didn't have much to do with each other," Shaba told Fox 5 San Diego while speaking of the vandalism. According to the news outlet, San Diego County police received a similar report from another Catholic church less than 5 miles away, where church personnel also found swastika symbols spray-painted on the building on Saturday.

Shaba shared what appeared to be surveillance footage recorded outside the cathedral on Twitter early the next morning. The minute-long clip showed a group of four people spray-painting an outdoor wall, while a fifth person stood in the background. Because of the camera's positioning, exactly what the group wrote in spray paint along the wall's surface was not clear.

However, several swastika symbols were visibly added to a tabletop adjacent to the wall and an area of pavement close by. Before leaving the camera's view, one person could also be seen writing "BLM" in red spray-paint beside the swastika symbols on the ground. None of the individuals' identities were discernible, partly because each wore a hood and face mask for the duration of the video.

"Please share," Shaba tweeted in reference to the surveillance video, which he also shared on Instagram. "The possible suspects in the defacing of our Cathedral in Rancho San Diego."

In subsequent social media posts, St. Peter's confirmed that volunteers were able to remove the graffiti before scheduled services took place on Sunday morning.

"Nice, clean, and all ready for Sunday masses," the cathedral wrote in a message shared to its official Facebook page early Sunday morning. A photo included in the post showed the building, tables and surrounding pavement free of paint.

"Thank you to all the benefactors for assisting in the clean up," the message continued. "And thank you to all of you parishioners who have been reaching out to the church and priests for a helping-hand."

Newsweek reached out to the cathedral and the San Diego County Police Department for additional comments but did not receive replies in time for publication.

California church
A Catholic church service in Los Angeles on September 26. Two Catholic churches in San Diego were spray-painted with swastika symbols over the weekend. Mario Tama/Getty