Four airmen from Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina have been accused of vandalizing a historic, rural church with satanic graffiti.
A member of Salem Black River Presbyterian Church discovered satanic symbols and phrases painted on the white columns, sidewalks and doors of the church near Mayesville on Sept. 29.
Shaw airmen Kayla Marie Eilerman, 18, of Ingleside, Texas; Clayre Marie Savage, 18, of Port Barre, Louisiana; Daveion Raaheim Green, 19, of Leeland, North Carolina; and Brandon Munoz 20, of Baltimore were charged Thursday with malicious injury to a place a worship, criminal conspiracy and trespassing, the Sumter Item reported.
Investigators released images from surveillance cameras of the suspects, generating tips.
“Several tips came in from the community, including from Shaw AFB personnel who gave us the names of possible suspects,” Sumter County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Ken Bell said in a statement Friday, according to Fox Carolina. “We began researching the names through various databases and social media.”
Investigators said the vandals kicked in a front door but never entered the church, which dates back more than 250 years. It is 25 miles from Shaw AFB to the church.
Damage was estimated at $3,000.
“The United States Air Force does not condone acts of vandalism,” 1st Lt. Alannah Staver, 20th Fighter Wing chief of public affairs, said in a statement Friday, according to the station. “Such behavior is not representative of the Airmen of Shaw AFB as a whole. We feel we are a part of this community, are proud to serve here, and we are disappointed to hear of this incident.”
Sumter Sheriff Anthony Dennis said the church has been targeted for satanic rituals before, but it has been several years since the last incident, the Associated Press reported.
Dennis said that people think the church, which was founded by Scotch-Irish settlers in 1759, is haunted, but he doesn’t know why, according to the AP.
The church was also one of a dozen found on lists in convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof’s car.
Eilerman and the others are scheduled to appear before a judge Friday for arraignment.