A team of local, state, and federal law enforcement officials is investigating after a fence in a Niagara Falls community was covered with a violent, racist message less than 48 hours after a self-proclaimed white supremacist shot and killed 10 Black people in nearby Buffalo.
"Kill all N––GERS" was spray-painted across Johnny Parks' fence on Monday (May 16), according to The Niagara Gazette. By that afternoon, after Parks alerted local authorities, members of the New York State Police and FBI were at his home.
"Who would do something like this?" Parks told the publication. "I've never seen nothing like this, nothing like this at all."
Niagara Falls is located about 20 minutes outside of Buffalo where suspected gunman and self-proclaimed white supremacist Payton Gendron opened fire inside of the Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue.
Authorities in the town of Niagara are investigating the graffiti on Parks' fence as a hate crime. Police first asked Parks if they had any issues with anyone in the neighborhood.
"I said, 'No we don't. We have good neighbors,'" Parks told authorities. Those neighbors helped clean up the fence later in the afternoon.
"I don't know why anyone would do this," Niagara County Sheriff Michael Fillicetti said. "It just boggles my mind that this kind of hate exists."
Parks' daughter, Jaz, posted online, urging friends to "be safe."
"My heart hurts so badly," she wrote. "Racism is a terrible thing. This is heartbreaking. Be safe out there. Teach peace and love in this hateful world."
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.