Family coping with cross burning

March 21, 2011


Following the discovery of an 11-foot cross burning outside their home on Friday at 12:30 a.m., a mother and her African-American daughter say they are fearful in their own home and are planning to move.

When the daughter and a friend who was spending the night heard what sounded like a large truck along with other vehicles pull up to their home, and then banging they went out on the back porch and saw no one. The girls then went back to the bedroom, turned off the light and saw a large cross fully engulfed in flames outside the window.

Police arrived and put out the flames with the family’s garden hose. Several media reports said some city leaders did not want the incident labeled a  hate crime and said that it could be a prank.

“It is not a prank when you burn a cross outside someone’s home, this is a serious crime,” the mother said.

Arroyo Grande Police Chief Steven Annibali said he did not refer to the burning of the cross as a prank and has asked several additional agencies to assist in the investigation.

A multi-agency partnership that includes the FBI, the Department of Justice, Arroyo Grande Police and the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s department is investigating the burning of the cross as a hate crime.

About two weeks ago, the cross had been stolen from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Arroyo Grande where it was bolted down in the church parking lot.

On Sunday, members of the parish prayed for the family and signed a card of condolence.

“We want them to know we love and care for them,” said pastor Randy Ouimette. “We want the wrong doers to be apprehended.”



  1. Pizmo says:

    The culprit(s) will eventually be caught.

    The cross was missing for two weeks before the incident, meaning someone was storing it during that time.

    Someone’s gonna blab….

    (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
  2. SanSimeonSam says:

    So who woke up the Clan. I had hoped that Darwin had rooted out these braindamaged fanatics, but i guess i was wrong. Years ago it was said that SLO county had the oldest active Kloven of the KKK west of the Mississippi. I hadnt heard of any activity on their part for years and now this. Hope Darwin is around to put the hoods in the ground.

    (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
    • Paso_Guy says:

      The skinhead dudes from Pismo are alive and well. Thgey been a [problem for at laest the last 20

      (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
  3. Bob says:


    (8) 8 Total Votes - 8 up - 0 down
  4. racket says:

    I hope the family will stay put. Running away means the bad guys won.

    I am sorry to be in a community where this kind of crap goes down.

    (13) 17 Total Votes - 15 up - 2 down
  5. connected one says:

    I’m appalled by this and hope the family knows that the community supports them and are outraged by this incident!

    (21) 21 Total Votes - 21 up - 0 down
  6. bobfromsanluis says:

    I for one appreciate how serious Arroyo Grande Police Chief Steven Annibali is taking this crime, and his calling in the additional agencies is the most appropriate course of action. The action of the parish of St. John’s Lutheran Church in sending the card of condolence is commendable as well. I am curious as to why the perps didn’t hang around with their white sheets on over their heads; too chicken to show their “true colors” perhaps?

    (15) 19 Total Votes - 17 up - 2 down
    • hotdog says:

      The clan has always been a cowardly bunch of malcontents. Sort of like our cops with their ski masks. I join the majority of our citizens in condemning this disgusting display of racism, a clear hate crime.
      If any of the cowards who did this are reading these words, know you are in serious danger if caught. You are in the same category as child molesters and I hope you will spend the rest of your sorry and miserable existence looking over your shoulder in great fear for your life. Though our community is way too ‘lilly white’ our attitudes here are of tolerance and we dislike you way more than you dislike our people of color. Get a life, and get out of our area.

      (2) 18 Total Votes - 10 up - 8 down

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