(Clarksdale, MS) John King says he’s lost the only home he’s ever owned, possibly due to a hate crime.
On March 22, someone set fire to his Clarksdale home, but not before they spray painted words and symbols all over the walls.
The words “Get Out Cracker” were sprayed on one wall.
Cracker is a derogatory term for white people, and King is white.
The Star of David is sprayed on two walls.
King isn’t Jewish, but that symbol is used by the Gangster Disciples, who are active in Clarksdale.
On Facebook, King wrote, “It hurts to know u lost every thing for nothing or for someone to get [their] fix to get high with your stuff u had for 35 years or more. I’d really would like to thank my neighbors for watching my house.”
Some of King’s friends believe this may have been a gang initiation and believe it should be treated as a hate crime.
King said he doesn’t know why it happened, but he’s taking his complaint to the FBI.
He has severe rematoid arthritis, making it difficult for him to walk.
But that physical pain is nothing compared to seeing his Clarksdale home destroyed by fire.
“I’ve lost everything that my grandparents gave to me. That’s more sentimental value to me than anything, and lost it all to the fire,” said King.
After the smoke cleared Saturday morning, King realized his grief and shock were far from over.
“The hateful words were on the wall. That even further upset me,” said King.
He doesn’t know why someone would burn his house or spray the hateful words on his wall.
He said he gets along with all his neighbors, black and white.
“I don’t believe I’ve done anything to anybody around here. I’ve got some of the greatest neighbors that you could ask for,” said John King.
King also said he has no doubt he’s a victim of a hate crime.
“My motto is, if you was willing to put something like that so you could see it, for people to see it, then I believe they actually meant it,” said King.
He said can’t live in the house because it’s so badly damaged. He doesn’t know yet if he’ll rebuild.
King wasn’t home when the fire started, but is concerned about his safety if he decides to stay in his home.
For now he’s trying to cope by leaning on his friends and his faith in God.
But he’s still angry and wants justice.
“I would like for the people who did this, definitely want them in jail. And I hope they never see daylight,” said King.
Clarksdale police and the city’s arson investigator are gathering evidence and trying to find who’s responsible for the fire and spray painting.
Clarksdale has seen a big jump in crime and violent crime in the past few years.