Dallas police have identified a former city council candidate, and vocal anti-gay protester, as a suspect in the "666" spray painting incidents from earlier this summer, according to our news partners The Dallas Morning News.
Richard Sheridan confirmed to NBC 5 on Wednesday that he has been questioned twice by detectives who are investigating the case and is scheduled for a third interview at Dallas Police Department headquarters Thursday afternoon.
"I'll put it this way, if God wants me to go to jail for this, I'll go to jail for this," Sheridan said by phone.
Sheridan denied being involved in the incidents, which are being investigated as potential hate crimes, and left several city landmarks, including City Hall, the Legacy of Love monument in Oak Lawn, The Dallas Morning News building and The Dallas Observer building, with a bright red "666" tag.
Sheridan does acknowledge that he knows the culprit and speaks on his behalf with police as well as on his personal Facebook page, where Sheridan has posted a letter reportedly written by the suspect explaining why he chose the locations for the "666" spray paint:
"He recognizes the significance of the graffiting “event” to both the Gay community, and to all residents of Dallas. He also recognizes that there are some in the Gay community, the rabid faction, that wants vengence, wants a “scalp”, wants to hang him out to dry, wants to send a message across Dallas and the Nation that (if they get their way) this is what will happen to anyone who dares to call out the immorality of the Gay lifestyle, to reference the Bible in saying that the Gay community is violating Gods laws. As you mentioned, there are even some in the Dallas Police Dept. that might be blinded by a political agenda when, as you related to me, they responded to my recent voice mail offer to you from him with “What’s in it for the Police Dept.?"
"This was not a hate crime by me, or the other person — the person that did it. I'm a suspect, but I gotta say I'm not a hateful person," Sheridan said.
Sheridan was clear about his opinion that the graffiti incidents were not a hate crime. Instead, he believes the opposite.
"It was an act of love," Sheridan said, when asked how he felt about what happened.
He then explained that he fears he could be the target of violence by members of the gay community in Dallas.
Dallas police would not confirm the interview Sheridan said he has scheduled with detectives on Thursday or that he was considered to be a suspect.
Sheridan said he requested three police officers be present during Thursday's interview, including one who knows him personally.
"And that none of three, that none of the three should be, because of the obvious conflict of interest, gay," Sheridan said.