O'FALLON — An O'Fallon family found racial slurs painted on the side of their home Monday, and police are investigating.
The resident, who identified himself only as Quincy, said he received a call to return home from work because a racist threat -- "(expletive) family die" -- was spray painted on the side of the rental townhouse where he, his wife and two young children live.
Quincy, 32, of the 200 block of Howard Drive in O'Fallon, who is black, said he did not want to give his last name for fear of his family's safety.
"I've lived in Illinois for nine years and have never had a problem like this before. Why now?" he said. "My sister married a white man. My best friend is white -- I don't have a problem with the color of anyone's skin, but I do have a problem with stupidity."
Police Chief Eric Van Hook said the department is aggressively investigating all leads and hopes eventually to bring charges. Van Hook confirmed a police report was filed after the call came in around 11 a.m. Monday.
"Upon arrival the officer observed a racial threat had been spray painted on the side of the victim's carport. We've increased patrols and we're actively investigating this case, following up on leads and taking proactive measures to ensure the safety of residents in that area," Van Hook said.
According to Quincy, he's been experiencing harassment from an unknown source for more than a week now.
"I've been working (for a company in Dupo) for about a month now without any problems until last week when I found a note in our tool box" that contained the same epithet. The next day, the same racial slur was painted on his truck, Quincy said.
Quincy said he has been working with the Fairview Heights based Aerotek Staffing Agency for nearly eight years now and was sent to work for a manufacturing plant in Dupo recently.
He said he reported the incidents to the company's human resources department, but it has been unresponsive.
"I don't know what I'm going to do now," he said.
O'Fallon Mayor Gary Graham has been in contact with the police department about the crime.
"Naturally we're very upset and we want police who are pursuing the case to keep up the hard work, which from my understanding, we have very strong leads and hopefully we will find the person(s) who did this," Graham said. "(Racism and hate crimes) is just not an issue we have in our town."
Darlene Fuller, who lives in the adjoining townhouse where the graffiti occurred, said it is shameful in a day and age where equal rights have come so far.
"This isn't how we live these days, or at least it shouldn't be," Fuller said with emotion. "I knew it had to be something deeper when I realized the graffiti was only on his side and not mine, too. I mean, I'm black, too."
Living in O'Fallon for nearly eight years, Fuller said her neighborhood has a fair amount of cultural and racial diversity.
"It's just horrible and I feel so deeply for my neighbors and I hope the police find their family justice," Fuller said.
Twelve-year O'Fallon resident Donnell Jordan, who lives nearby, said he is shocked to hear about the incident.
"People have their own beliefs about things, but to still hold hatred in their hearts just isn't right -- it shouldn't be that way," Jordan said. "We should be able to live together, serve God together and exist without letting racism take over."
"This is not a common event or occurrence in O'Fallon," Van Hook said. "We've had some tagging in the downtown area in the past where there's some spray painting on businesses, but as far as something that can be construed as a hate crime? No, this is not common here."
Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the O'Fallon Police Department at 618-624-4545.