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Charlotte Area

Threatening Note And Shotgun Shell Found Taped To Church Sign

Courtesy of Chris Ayers

Wedgewood Church off Tyvola Road in Charlotte has a history of being vandalized. The church is part of the United Church of Christ denomination and advertises itself as a liberal, LGBT-friendly congregation. The front doors are painted in rainbow colors, a rainbow flag flies out front, and for the last few weeks, the sign by the road has read "Stop Killing, Disrespecting Black People."

The church's pastor, Chris Ayers, says during his time at the church, the front doors have been spray-painted with obscenities, the rainbow flag has been removed from the flagpole, and letters in the church sign have been rearranged to spell out gay slurs.

Just last week, someone altered the church sign by putting white tape over the word "black," so it read "Stop Killing, Disrespecting ____ People." Ayers, says it wasn't the worst case of vandalism the church has experienced, but he still removed the tape and notified the police.

Then, Friday morning, "I was at my home office," Ayers said, "and I got a call from a motorist, not a church member, saying 'Hey - I love your message on your sign, but you need to know there's a shotgun shell taped to your church sign and there's also a very disturbing message."

The message, written in black sharpie on the back of a manila envelope, reads, "How about the no-good gangster n-----s who murdered my friend's brother and wife? Should I respect them? Should I use my next shell on your sign or the gangsters? There (sic) names and pictures are all over the news." The message was signed "Concerned Citizen."

Ayers said he had no idea who wrote the message, but he's turned the envelope and the shotgun shell over to police. The church already has a hired police presence every Sunday, and now, Ayers says, they plan to install surveillance cameras on the property as well.