COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WTVF) — Columbia police are investigating after a homophobic slur was spray-painted on a woman's car Sunday evening.
Kaylea Calhoun said her car was parked outside her home on Overlook Place when it was damaged. The vandal painted "go to hell" on one side of the car, and a homophobic slur on the other.
"It was like one of those moments of why would someone do that for no reason?" said Calhoun, who is a member of the LGBTQ community. "It takes me a while to process things, so I haven’t fully processed what happened."
Calhoun believes she was targeted. No other cars or property in the neighborhood were damaged. She reached out to LGBTQ activist Caleb Banks for support. They are both involved in a “Maury County Supports PRIDE” Facebook group that is working to organize the community's first Pride festival later this year.
"I was shocked when I pulled up on the scene," said Banks. "She was sitting on the ground upset and in tears. It literally broke my heart. For this to be a direct reaction to her being LGBTQ bothers me. It's disgusting, it's disturbing and it's unethical."
Columbia Police Lt. Jeremy Haywood confirmed the department is investigating the case. While he said this type of incident is out of the ordinary in the community, he called the situation "concerning." He encouraged people who live in the area to check their security cameras for information on the crime. He said the case is currently being investigated as vandalism, but the possible punishment could change depending on how the case evolves.
Columbia Mayor Chaz Molder released a statement regarding the incident:
"This isolated occurrence of a homophobic slur does not define who we are as a community, and I condemn it in the strongest terms. We are a community that is welcoming to all people, and as Mayor, I will continue to lead with a focus on greater compassion and inclusiveness for everyone, including the LGBTQ+ community. At this time, the incident is under active investigation by the Columbia Police Department, and I will comment further once that investigation is complete."
Calhoun said she hopes police find the person responsible for the crime.
"I think it would make everyone happy, especially in the LGBTQ community by catching the person who is going around doing these kinds of things," said Calhoun. "It's ridiculous and disgusting."
A Columbia nurse practitioner at Right Care Walk-in Clinic has offered to cover the cost to repair Calhoun's car.
If you have any information on the crime, contact Columbia Police at (931) 388-2727.