A rental truck used in a Kansas LGBT-themed parade event was vandalized in what organizers believe was a failed attempt to create a firebomb, according to reports. Event planners returned to a U-Haul rental, which was parked in a lot at the Equality Kansas office in Wichita and discovered the truck’s battery cable had been cut along with a gas can and drill bit underneath the truck Sept. 26.
The Wichita Police Department was investigating the incident but did not immediately identify a suspect or motive for the crime. However, Equality Kansas Executive Director Thomas Witt told the Wichita Eagle that the rigged truck may have been an “improvised incendiary device” in protest of the LGBT community’s rights and inclusion.
Damage to the truck was discovered the morning following the Wichita Pride Parade, which took place Sept. 25. Witt said Equality Kansas team members were planning to return the U-Haul Sept. 26. When they tried to turn the key in the ignition, the vehicle would not start, discovering the truck’s battery was locked in a box. After calling U-Haul, the company’s mechanic determined the truck had been tampered with.
Following the incident, Witt told reporters that Equality Kansas has beefed up their security efforts at the office location, but the group wasn’t going to allow the situation to stop them from spreading awareness about the LGBT community and the injustices they face.
“It’s ridiculous to think they’re going to terrorize us into stopping what we’re doing,” he said. “We’re not going to stop.”
The latest FBI Hate Crime Statistics report said offenses against victims due to sexual orientation accounted for 18.6 percent of the 5,462 single-biased incidents reported in 2014. LGBT victims were tied with religious victims of hate crimes, which also accounted for 18.6 percent of hate crimes in the United States.