Possible hate crime at K-State now blamed on inclement weather

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MANHATTAN, Kan (WIBW)- Authorities at K-State have determined that a possible hate crime directed toward a Jewish holiday structure was actually caused by thunderstorms.

The Kansas State University Police Department initially began investigating the damage done to a Sukkah - a tent-like symbol for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot - on Friday, Oct. 6, as a possible criminal damage to property report.

They say they contacted eyewitnesses who saw the Sukkah tumbling in the wind during a thunderstorm that night, with no people around it.

Another witness reportedly saw the Sukkah resting on a car in a parking lot near where it was placed, between Marlatt and Goodnow halls.

Those reports, along with other witness statements and time stamps on photos shared with police, led them to determine the Sukkah was blown onto a vehicle, and not tampered with by humans.

They say their investigation revealed other vehicles damaged in the thunderstorm.

At the time, the damage was considered to be vandalism and an anti-Semitic hate crime. It led to the president of the university, Richard Myers, to issue a statement saying in part, "there is no place in our community for hateful, criminal reactions to religious expression."

K-State has seen other forms of vandalism: anti-homosexual hate speech was found written on a pillar near Bosco Plaza earlier in October. That pillar was quickly washed.