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FBI investigates Capitol Center Theater graffiti

CHIP ELLIS | Gazette The West Virginia State University Capitol Center Theater on Summers Street in downtown Charleston.

Federal authorities are investigating after someone spray-painted a racial slur inside the West Virginia State University Capitol Center Theater in downtown Charleston over the weekend.

WVSU, a historically black college, acquired the Capitol Theater on Summers Street in the early 1990s. The theater is now home to several classrooms and hosts WVSU student performances, and is also the site of the West Virginia International Film Festival.

Charleston police said they received report of the graffiti on Saturday. They forwarded the case to the FBI, which investigates possible hate crimes.

Police did not elaborate on what the graffiti looked like for fear of harming the investigation. Theater employees had the graffiti covered on Monday.

“West Virginia State University proudly embraces diversity with unparalleled compassion and as such, we are deeply saddened by this callous act of vandalism of our students’ classroom at the Capitol Center,” WVSU President Brian Hemphill said in a statement on Monday. “The university is cooperating with investigators and encourages anyone with information that may lead to the identification and arrest of the person or persons responsible to contact the FBI.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI’s Charleston office at 304-346-2300. Callers may remain anonymous.

Reach Travis Crum at or 304-348-5163. Reach Mackenzie Mays at or 304-348-4814.

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