RENTON, Wash. - It all began as a way to unify Renton -- artists coming together, working on a mural commissioned by the city. But a man allegedly pulled a gun on one of the artists because he disagreed with the overall message of the mural, meant to help build a sense of community.
Renton PD says initially the artists were being harassed by a man who would drive by and yell at them, but then it escalated when that man pulled a gun on one of the artists when she tried to have a civil discussion with him. Police believe the man later vandalized the mural, and an officer witnessed another verbal attack that led to the man’s arrest. Despite all this, the muralists say they feel no animosity towards him.
“If you look at the mural, in the book shelf on the top shelf there's a man sitting between two folks with a red hat on reading and laughing and smiling and that is actually the man, so we painted him in because it was obvious he felt threatened and not included, and it's like no, there's space for you here,” says one of the artists, Mari Shibuia.
King County prosecutors are now reviewing the case. According to court documents, when the suspect was arrested, he expressed his anger with the mural by repeatedly using racist slurs. In addition to the vandalism at the mural, Renton PD also believe he’s responsible for vandalism at a local pet store.