Young offender arrested after spate of hate crimes
Ottawa Police say a young offender is in custody after a spate of hate crimes in the capital.
Investigators arrested the teenager early Saturday morning in the areas of Broadview Avenue. Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau told reporters outside the synagogue that the man was "in the process of committing an act of vandalism" at the Ottawa Jewish Community Centre.
"That individual is in our custody," Bordeleau told reporters. "One of the tasks is to determine whether this individual is responsible for any of the other acts that have taken part in the last week."
The arrest comes in the wake of a week of racist, hateful incidents targeting religious institutions. Five incidents in six days were reported to police against an Ottawa mosque, United Church and synagogue.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson was one of several religious and community leaders on hand Saturday at an interfaith service at the Machzikei Hadas Synagogue. On site security estimated roughly 600 people attended the solidarity event.
"This is the true face of Ottawa," the mayor said. "It's not one person that goes around spreading hate through spray paint and graffiti."
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne also stopped by, delivering remarks to the packed crowd.
"When there are attacks on some of us, there are attacks on all of us," she told reporters before the event. "We now have to redouble our efforts to make the society more inclusive and not to dilute ourselves that someone we are done."
Many of the people at Saturday's service said the graphic words spray-painted on these places of worship helped bring people together.
"When things like this happen it makes us come together as a community. It makes us identify with our culture and it even brings people from outside the community together to stand against intolerance and racism," said Samuel Kardash, a longtime member of the Machzikei Hadas Congregation.
Bishop Nigel Shaw echoed those statements.
"An attack on one faith is an attack on any faiths. People need to stand together to protest against any discrimination or violence or any acts of this type," he said.
Police say the teenager appeared in court on Saturday. He is facing several charges including mischief against a religious institution and uttering threats of a dangerous weapon.