Man Arrested, Charged in Dallas' 666 Tagging Incidents

Dallas police say they have arrested 68-year-old Richard Paul Sheridan in connection with several 2014 tagging incidents in the city.

Sheridan, a former city council candidate and vocal anti-gay protester, was questioned about the vandalism in August 2014, just over a month after it occurred.

“At no time did he admit to being the person that committed these offenses, but he also did not deny that to be the case either,” said assistant chief Randy Blankenbaker.

At the time, Sheridan publicly denied being involved in defacing a dozen city landmarks including City Hall, the Legacy of Love monument in Oak Lawn, The Cathedral of Hope (the world's largest gay and lesbian church), The Dallas Morning News building and The Dallas Observer building, with a bright red "666" tag.

Sheridan was indicted by a grand jury on just two graffiti charges, specifically the taggings at the Cathedral of Hope Church and the Legacy of Love Monument. Defacing a place of worship and a public monument are considered state jail felonies.

"We also believe that it is likely that Mr. Sheridan selected these locations due to their connection or significant to the LGBT community," Blankenbaker said.

During court proceedings Dallas police said the special circumstance of the crime, if it was committed due to bias or prejudice against a specific group, the charges could become third degree felonies. Sheridan could face two to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

Dallas police said it has been investigating the case since the graffiti first appeared and wanted to make sure it could prove it's case.

"These types of crime, that appear to be targeting people based on their sexual orientation or because of their race or religion, those types of crimes are important to the police department to solve," Blankenbaker said. "So we can send a message that everyone is inclusive in the police community."

The graffiti upset the LGBT community, but the department's liaison to the community believes they'll rest easier with news of the arrest.

"The community will take great comfort in knowing the police department used every resource available to solve this, a lot of hours were put into this case, to get Mr. Sheridan where he needs to be," said Det. Laura Martin.

Dallas police said they were quickly led to look at Sheridan as a suspect.

Sheridan acknowledged in 2014 that he knew the culprit and spoke on his behalf with police as well as on his personal Facebook page, where a letter reportedly written by the vandal was posted explaining why he chose the locations for the "666" spray paint.

When asked what he thought about the acts of vandalism in 2014, Sheridan said they were not an act of hate, but of love.

NBC 5's Chris Van Horne and Ben Russell contributed to this report.

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