University City, MO Police are investigating the case of individuals who knocked over or damaged more than 100 of tombstones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Jewish cemetery last Thursday morning. Police have not yet called the act of vandalism a hate crime.
According to local TV stateion KPLR11, police are reviewing security camera footage from the area, and looking at the possibility that an organization was behind the crime, rather than the random act of one individual.
According to KPLR11, the vandalized tombstones were in an older section of the cemetery. Local resident Robin Rickerman, whose family members are buried in that cemetery, told the TV station that “these are holocaust survivors that are in here,” adding, “They shouldn’t have to endure anymore trauma, let them be settled.”
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens on Monday night issued the following statement on his Facebook page:
“Today, Missouri witnessed a despicable act of what appears to be anti-Semitic vandalism at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery.
“It is reported that more than 100 headstones were damaged. We do not yet know who is responsible, but we do know this: this vandalism was a cowardly act. And we also know that, together, we can meet cowardice with courage.
“Anyone who would seek to divide us through an act of desecration will find instead that they unite us in shared determination. From their pitiful act of ugliness, we can emerge even more powerful in our faith.
“Whoever did this slipped into a cemetery in secret to break things. We will stand together in the open to rebuild them, stronger.”