Our Center, an LGBTQ community center at 1745 South Wells Avenue, was attacked around 7 p.m. Tuesday night resulting in multiple broken windows and a broken door.
Sherrie Scaffidi, an advisor at Our Center, wasn’t at the location during the attack but was on site within the hour. She said the perpetrator, who wore a ski mask to hide their identity, opened the front door and told those in the building to get down, then began smashing windows by throwing large rocks. The rocks were plucked from a small landscaped area in front of the building. After failing to smash completely through the last window the person fled the scene.
While no one on site was physically harmed, they were shaken by the attack.
Our Center, which doesn’t close until 8 p.m., was the site of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at the time of the attack. Several staff members were in the building as well. Just prior to the incident, two individuals visiting the center had commented that they hadn’t been visiting LGBTQ establishments since the 2016 terrorist attack at Pulse, a nightclub favored by the gay community in Florida.
A detective with the Reno Police Department (RPD) has been assigned to the case and the number of patrols in the area have been increased. During ThisisReno’s one-hour visit three passes by RPD were witnessed.
No other businesses on Wells Avenue have appear to have been vandalized. While not currently listed as a hate crime, staff notes it does appear that Our Center was singled out for the attack. Carl’s Bar on Virginia Street also received a broken window Tuesday night, but it is unknown if the two incidents are related.
Both Scaffidi and Meredith Tanzer, Our Center’s vice president, said that the community has been very supportive since the incident. Volunteers from The Generator arrived shortly after the attack to help board up the broken windows and door. Area residents have also been coming to the center to donate and show their support. Tanzer said that in addition to repairing the damage they are looking to increase their security systems.
The extent of the damage is significant. Two windows were completely shattered, sending glass more than 30 feet into the building. The front door was also completely shattered and another window has the front pane of glass shattered but not the second. Staff remained upbeat but shaken.
Our Center did not receive any threats before the attack. RPD requests that individuals with any information that could help in the case call the department’s non-emergency line at 775-334-2121 or Secret Witness at 775-322-4900. A reward has been offered for information.