Following incidents of vandalism targeting the LGBTQ+ community in Lovettsville, Town Council members voiced their concerns about the actions at a council meeting June 24.
Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Josh Edney provided an update on the investigation of the incidents, which included the destruction of several Pride flags that were cut and ripped the weekend of June 12.
“We are actively investigating the destruction of property,” Edney said. “If anyone has any video or witnesses please let us know.”
“The current leads have not led to any suspects,” he said.
Lovettsville Mayor Nate Fontaine described the actions — which occurred during LGBTQ+ Pride Month — on Facebook as “deplorable” and “devastating” to the entire community.
“To have property destroyed targeting members of our community is horrible and can be frightening for those targeted,” Fontaine said in a Facebook post.
“For the individuals who committed these crimes, know that your bigoted efforts to terrorize members of our community will not stand,” he said.
At the meeting, each of the members of the Town Council made a statement denouncing the acts of property destruction in the community.
Council member Renee Edmonston spoke first, expressing her concerns about the “targeted, personal attacks.”
“I hear you and I respect all of you and your individual opinions,” Edmonston said. “Willful destruction in any form is vandalism and the town has experienced private property destruction more than once. It is a criminal act under Virginia law and I denounce any criminal act,” Edmonston said.
“Harmony can exist and Lovettsville is full of harmony. There is a small fraction who choose to engage in such conflict. I am calling on everyone to stop demeaning and labeling and to seek peace not conflict,” she added.
Vice Mayor Chris Hornbaker said he believes the acts are not an overall reflection of Lovettsville’s citizens.
“We are a town that welcomes and respects all of its citizens and guests,” he said.
“We help one another and we support one another. This is what Lovettsville is and this is what defines us,” he said.
Deanna Plebuch, a Lovettsville resident who attended the meeting to express her concerns about the vandalism, said she was disappointed the town did not issue a formal proclamation supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
“I wish they had done that,” she told the Times-Mirror.
During the meeting, Fontaine said he did not feel that a proclamation was necessary, because he believes actions are more important than words.
“It is important to speak out and come together and show that this is not what Lovettsville really is,” Fontaine said.