LOS ANGELES (AP) — An 11-foot cross was stolen from a church and set on fire next to the home of a black family, igniting anger and disbelief in a prosperous, mostly white Central California community that hasn't seen a hate crime in nearly a decade.
Police assigned extra patrols to the neighborhood in Arroyo Grande and rewards were offered for information leading to an arrest. Church leaders were urged to mention the family in their prayers.
"I was horrified," said the Rev. Stephanie Raphael, president of the San Luis Obispo Ministerial Association. "We live in a paradise, and I think the first thought was, this can't really be real."