Man charged with vandalizing Nashville Islamic center - WKRN News 2

Man charged with vandalizing Nashville Islamic center

Posted: Updated: Feb 11, 2013 5:05 PM CST
Kyler Wilson, 27, is charged with felony vandalism and burglary. Kyler Wilson, 27, is charged with felony vandalism and burglary.

Metro police have a suspect in custody after a Nashville Islamic center was vandalized early Monday morning.

The vandalism at the Al-Farooq Islamic Center on 4th Avenue South was discovered around 2 a.m.

A cab driver who is also a board member at the center was driving by and saw the back door to one of the center's vans open.

He pulled into the parking lot and saw a man, wearing only boxers, sitting in the driver's seat of the van.

The cab driver told the man, later identified as Kyler Wilson, that he was on private property and asked him leave. Wilson, 27, fled.

After he left, the cab driver noticed Wilson had vandalized the mosque and two hearses in the parking lot.

Investigators told Nashville's News 2 Wilson's clothes and shoes were found in the building, as were spots of his blood.  

Police said it appeared he injured himself on broken glass.

Inside the building, blinds were ripped off the windows. Bookshelves, podiums and vending machines were knocked over.  It did not immediately appear that anything was taken.

Wilson was located just before 7 a.m. sleeping in a vehicle parked outside a business on Second Avenue South.

He told detectives that he drank heavily Sunday night and does not remember the events of early Monday.  

He did say that he has no animosity toward any religion or group.

The FBI is involved in the investigation to determine whether any federal law was violated.

Wilson was charged with felony vandalism and burglary and booked into the Metro jail on a $30,000 bond.

This isn't the first time the mosque has been vandalized.  

On February 10, 2010 vandals broke out windows and spray painted the building.

"Just those glasses that you see right up there cost about $2,000 to replace.  That's something we've already gotten quotes on.  The stuff on the inside, we've tried to pick up.  The Korans, those are something we hold very sacred, so we're not going to let them stay on the floor," said Drost Kokoye of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.

A community prayer service will be held at the Afarooq Islamic Center Monday at 7 p.m. to show unity in the Muslim community.

"It's the principle.  This is where we worship.  This is where the Somali community feels at home.  This is where they come to worship.  This is where children have class, but it's so open and so vulnerable to things like this," said Kokoye.

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