2 teens charged in racist graffiti spree - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

2 teens charged in racist graffiti spree

By Nick Kenney - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Two teenagers responsible for vandalizing a predominantly African American church with racist graffiti are now in police custody.

15-year-old Daniel Williams and 17-year-old Cameron Cobb are charged with vandalism.

The pair are accused of spray-painting racist terms and profanities on the exterior of New Life Holiness Church in East Memphis last weekend.

Others in the surrounding neighborhood woke up to similar messages sprayed on their mailboxes and vehicles.

The boys were spray-painting a car inside the gated Newton Court subdivision this week when they were caught red-handed by a neighbor, who asked to be identified only as "Joe" for fear of retaliation.

Joe says he was on an overnight walk when he spotted the young vandals. Another neighbor also saw them and called police.

Joe chased after the boys and found them hiding in the bushes. They stepped out when Joe told them they were caught.

He says they seemed frightened. "They kept trying to get us not to call the cops. We're like, 'Sorry guys, already been done.'"

Joe says he has lived in his East Memphis home for three years. He says the teens' actions are not at all representative of the neighborhood.

Pastor Frederick Smith says his congregation has moved on, and he's grateful his neighbors stepped up to help apprehend the vandals.

"The joy is that to know that whoever did the damage, that they won't have the opportunity to do it again," he said.

Williams and Cobb remain in juvenile custody. Prosecutors say they haven't decided whether they will seek a transfer to adult court.

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