Vandalism and fire at Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple in downtown LA


Vandalism and a fire are being investigated at a downtown Los Angeles Buddhist temple.

Surveillance video shows a suspect lighting two wooden lantern stands on fire at the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple in downtown Los Angeles Thursday night, and also smashing a window with a rock.

"Your first feelings are those of disappointment and sadness to see what happened,” said the Rev. Noriaki Ito to Associated Press. “I don’t know the motives, but it looks like we were targeted. The only relief I find is that no one was hurt.”

The vandalism comes amid other incidents at the temple including a February incident where a couple trespassed on the property and allegedly assaulted a security guard who has now quit.

LA Police Department Capt. Stacy Spell said to the AP that it was too early to label Thursday’s vandalism a hate crime because the investigation is in the early stages.

There has been a rising wave of anti-Asian American sentiment and alleged racist incidents across the country including in California and the East Coast and New York. Anti-Asian American sentiment has also taken root in San Francisco and Oakland after older residents were being assaulted in Oakland.