Destruction called hate crime
A Redding man was arrested on suspicion of committing a hate crime early Tuesday after he allegedly rammed a Sikh temple with a stolen 25-ton front-end loader in a drug-fueled rampage.
Shasta County sheriff's Sgt. Janet Breshears said Michael Benjamin Rafferty, 39, had called authorities to report the tractor being stolen.
When deputies contacted him, he gave conflicting statements and implicated himself in both the theft and the temple vandalism, Breshears said.
He was obviously on drugs, she said....
The destruction saddens members of the Sikh community, who've spent most of the past decade planning and building the new 9,000-square-foot temple.
"It's very upsetting," said Dr. Harvinder Birk, a Redding neurologist who donated a large portion of the money for the temple's construction. "We've been working on this since 1999." [Link]
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