MANCHESTER — The 19-year-old Manchester man wanted for his alleged involvement in painting swastikas in the city turned himself in to local police, officials said.
Jamal Gray, 19, gave himself up by showing up at police headquarters Friday afternoon after warrants for criminal mischief had been issued for his arrest, according to police.
Three swastikas in total were found after the first was reported the weekend of Oct. 26 at Wagner Memorial Park. The first was found sprayed on the base of the park memorial. A second swastika was found around the corner on Hall Street. The third was discovered sprayed onto the side of a home at 91 Russell St., at the corner of Prospect and Russell streets.
The third swastika was sprayed about two blocks from Temple Adath Yeshurun, one of the oldest synagogues in the state.
Prior to Gray turning himself in, police said they were concerned he might flee to Massachusetts. When they announced the warrant for Gray’s arrest Friday morning, they asked the public’s help locating him.
Lt. Brian N. O’Keefe, the Manchester Police Department’s public information officer, said Gray’s court date was not yet available.
Alderman Will Stewart had organized a Wagner Memorial Park vigil after the swastikas were found.
“I am completely unfamiliar with this individual,” Stewart said of Gray. “I certainly commend the Manchester Police Department for making this a priority and being able to track down the individual who allegedly committed this act.”
News of the graffiti has saddened members of the congregation, their leaders said.
The temple hosted a prayer service for members of both Adath Yeshurun and Temple Israel, which is also located in the North End.
Mayor Joyce Craig, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan and former Sen. Gordon Humphrey had taken part, along with members of the Greater Manchester Clergy Association and a women’s interfaith group.
“It was disturbing and very concerning, especially in light of the fact that there’s two Jewish synagogues within blocks of the park, to see these symbols of hate,” Stewart said.
The alderman noted the donor of the park had wanted the land dedicated to love and peace.
The graffiti was discovered about the same time that a gunman started shooting worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue, where 11 people died .
It was unclear how long the graffiti had been at Russell Street. A neighbor did not notice the graffiti until it was pointed out by a reporter.