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Cross burned at church in Clarksville

CLARKSVILLE (AP) — Police in Clarksville are investigating who burned a cross in front of a church and why.

Sgt. Charles Gill told The Leaf-Chronicle (http://leafne.ws/1mDrMu3 ) the case is classified as a hate crime because it met all the criteria for reporting hate crimes to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations and the FBI. Gill says investigators have no leads initially.

“We’ve got nothing,” Gill said.

A church member saw the cross propped up against a closed gate at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church’s parking lot on Tuesday, July 22, and reported it to the police.

Other than scorch marks on the gate, there was no property damage.

Gill said there have been a number of vandalism cases in the area committed by juveniles. He said the police are investigating the possibility that juveniles are responsible for the burned cross and may not understand the consequences that go along with a hate crime.

Pastor Vernon Hooks said, “Whoever did it, we forgive him,” as the charred remnants of the cross lay on the ground not far from where he stood.

Uploaded by Chelsea Leonard.

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