ENCINITAS — One month after racist and homophobic graffiti was spray-painted on the side of a San Dieguito Academy administration building in Encinitas, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department announced on Feb. 1 the arrest of a 16-year-old student in connection to the crime.
The act of vandalism on New Year’s Day prompted an outcry from city and school district officials and local social justice groups.
In an update sent via email, the Sheriff’s Department announced the arrest of a San Dieguito Academy student who remained in custody at the Sheriff’s North Coastal Station in Encinitas before he was released Tuesday to his parents.
Due to the age of the suspect, no other information was made available.
Sheriff’s Capt. Dustin Lopez confirmed to The Coast News the arrest was made after additional evidence, other than surveillance footage of the crime, was discovered linking the suspect to the crime.
“I don’t want to discuss the details (of the evidence), because of court proceedings but the evidence that was collected directly links him to the crime scene,” Lopez said.
Lopez said the Sheriff’s Department has been in direct contact with the San Dieguito Union High School District over the course of the month-long investigation. Law enforcement also contacted the San Diego District Attorney’s Office who review the case for potential prosecution.
In comments to The Coast News, Superintendent Cheryl James-Ward indicated the district is still awaiting final word from the Sheriff’s Department on the investigation.
“We are waiting for law enforcement to complete their investigation. We hope to have more information in the next few days. We are also thankful to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department for all of their work on this case,” James-Ward said.
Trustee Michael Allman, in comments given to The Coast News, said he was pleased to hear the news Tuesday evening.
“I am pleased and relieved that the person suspected of vandalizing our school has been apprehended, but am saddened to learn that he is a student at the school. There must be consequences for this behavior, and I hope this young man gets the help he needs.” Allman said.