Metro Weekly

Man Arrested for Vandalizing Gay Pride Display at Target

Knoxville police claim 31-year-old Jonathan Burns sprayed red paint over a display touting Pride Month.

A Target store in Knoxville, Tennessee – Photo: Mike Kalasnik, via Wikimedia.

A Tennessee man has been arrested on a felony vandalism charge for allegedly spray-painting an entire section of LGBTQ+ Pride merchandise at a Target store in Knoxville.

According to the Knoxville Police Department, on June 13, a suspect entered the Target at Turkey Creek, a retail shopping center in the city’s far west end, and proceeded to spay-paint the items in the display, causing more than $3,800 in damage.

Security footage from Target, later released to the public by police, showed the suspect wearing jeans, a purple T-shirt, a dark-colored bucket hat, a multicolored face covering, and carrying a dark-colored backpack.

Knoxville police have since identified the suspect in the security footage as 31-year-old Jonathan Burns, and, with the help of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, arrested him at his West Knox County home last Wednesday, reports ABC affiliate WATE.

According to an arrest report, Burns allegedly walked into the Target store around 2:49 p.m. on the day of the incident, and sprayed red paint over the display containing Pride-themed clothing and merchandise before tossing the paint can to the ground.

Police say fingerprints taken from the can of spray paint confirmed the suspect’s identity. They also claim to have video evidence showing Burns bought the spray paint and bucket hat at a local retailer prior to the incident. The damages to the clothing and merchandise amounted to $3,884, with an additional $16 in damage to a store sign advertising the display.

Burns is scheduled to be arraigned on the vandalism charge in Knox County Criminal Court on June 30.


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