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Vandals target Angel of the Winds sign
ARLINGTON The lights on the 85-foot-tall sign for the Angel of the Winds Casino went on April 23, but by April 27, a repair crew found more than 40 bullet holes in the signs face and lights.
Stillaguamish Tribal Police Chief Felix Moran believes the suspect used a 30-caliber rifle with low-velocity rounds, from either the overpass or the off-ramp of Exit 210 on I-5, which would have placed I-5 itself in the shooters line of fire. However, he stopped short of deeming the incident a hate crime with certainty.
Its a good guess that this is probably anti-tribal or anti-casino, but we dont know for sure yet, Moran said. For a hate crime, you have to show that the perceived race, gender or sexual orientation of the victim motivated the crime.
What Moran can say with certainty is that the cost of repairing the sign puts this crime into the category of first-degree felony malicious mischief. Depending upon the shooters location, he also believes it would probably qualify as reckless endangerment, and if the suspect was motivated by anti-tribal or anti-casino, then he or she could be charged with malicious harassment.
Todd Hanson, owner of Signmart, estimated that the vinyl face of the sign alone could cost $15,000 to repair, without including the extra expenses of electrical repairs. Signmart personnel discovered the damage to the sign April 27, after responding to reports that the lights appeared to be malfunctioning. The personnel worked for $160 an hour, using a crane that cost $1,200 a day. The sign itself cost approximately $800,000 to build.
Stillaguamish Tribal Chair Shawn Yanity was livid, as much because of the irresponsible use of firearms as because of the crime committed against the Tribe and its casino.
I believe in gun ownership, Yanity said. Im pro-gun, but stunts like this irritate me because misusing guns in these ways gives the rest of us gun owners a bad name. Its not the guns fault. Its one thing if they didnt like the sign, but it was stupid and reckless of them to put other peoples lives in jeopardy. If people want to protest, like they did before, thats fine. Id rather they do that, than that anyone risk getting hurt.
Yanity stated that the sign would be repaired and remain in operation.
Well just keep on going with business as usual, Yanity said.