SALEM (CBS) – Police are looking for a group of people captured on surveillance video causing an explosion that destroyed a newspaper box for an LGBTQ publication.
Salem Police said an explosion “rocked” the downtown area of Washington Street and Lappin Park around 1:20 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Seven people were captured on surveillance video placing an unknown device inside a newspaper box for The Rainbow Times, the largest LGBTQ newspaper in New England.
As the suspects run away from the newspaper box, a large explosion can be seen in the video. According to police, the explosion could be heard up to a mile away.
Gricel Ocasio co-founded the publication a decade ago and says there have been incidents of vandalism elsewhere before.
“When I saw the video, there are no words to express how I felt,” Ocasio said. “It was a combination of sadness, anger.”
Since June, Ocasio filed roughly 10 police reports in Salem because of ongoing incidents targeting this box. Salem’s Police Chief has had enough. “There are clearly other newspaper stands around it and they’re not being touched, so this is a particular, targeted hate crime,” Chief Mary Butler said.
“Everyone should be outraged because this touches on the fabric of everything that we know and every person,” Ocasio said.
Ocasio has ordered two more boxes and vows to keep publishing and talking.
“We are going to continue to be here,” Ocasio said. “We are not scared.”
Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll says her office simply won’t stand for this.
She posted on Facebook that she is “sad and upset” by the incident.
“Salem is a community that has worked hard to be a place of progress and unity. This cowardly attack runs contrary, not simply to that work, but to what it means to be a city whose very name means peace,” Driscoll wrote.
“We are a community that supports each other as neighbors and, even in the face of violence and hatred, today should be no different. Fear and hate may cloud the hearts of those committing this act, but it will never, ever characterize this community. Salem is the City of peace.”
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Salem Police at (978)744-0171, Ext. 179.