A funeral home in suburban St. Louis, Missouri, has announced that it is canceling all its services due to a “hate crime” investigation that alleges “extremists” are responsible for the “disgusting” vandalism of the building.
“We were shocked and saddened to learn about the vandalism of our home and the subsequent death of one of our staff members,” said owner and CEO of Faith Funeral Home, Jody Wigdor.
“The damage was truly terrible.
It took a team of dedicated and caring professionals to repair and restore this building, and we thank all those who contributed their time and effort to the process.
The staff and the community are in our prayers.”
A video posted by @FaithFamILY on Jan. 14, 2020, shows a group of people vandalizing a prayer room.
The video has since been deleted.
Wigdors funeral home said that “a number of individuals who are suspected of being members of a hate group were arrested and charged with felony hate crime.
These individuals have been charged with unlawful damage of property.”
Wigdor said that he was told by police that there were “a few individuals” involved in the vandalism, but that “none of these individuals have a criminal record or a criminal history of anything whatsoever.”
He added that the group of individuals was “intimidating” and “aggressive.”
“We are so proud of the work we do and we are so grateful to the St. Charles County Police Department and our local and state law enforcement partners for their swift and prompt response to this terrible incident,” Wigdal said.
The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office said that its “law enforcement officers responded to the scene, and found the damage and arrests.”
The investigation was still ongoing.
The Rev. Michael A. Smith, the minister of the St Louis Diocese of St. John Bosco, called on all members of the church to denounce the attack.
“This is unacceptable and the actions of some individuals have no place in our church,” Smith said in a statement to The Huffington Post.
“It is especially concerning that someone would attempt to deface a funeral home and vandalize a building in which so many members of our congregation and friends gather.
This is a clear attack on faith and the worship of God.”
Wigs funeral home is located at 1095 E. State St. in St. Joseph, Missouri.
The building is owned by St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, which is based in St Louis.