A swastika was spray-painted Monday outside an east Tulsa, Okla., bookstore that was targeted last week by white supremacists.
Shannon Iwanski, a co-owner of Phantasmagoria Books and Records, said he was straightening a bookshelf after getting to work early, about 9:30 a.m., when he noticed a man walk up on the sidewalk outside.
The man started spray-painting on the sidewalk, but at first Iwanski wasn’t sure whether the markings might be for construction work or a race.
“Then he started drawing a swastika,” Iwanski said.
He said he quickly unlocked the door to snap a few pictures of the man, who looked up at him and waved.
Surveillance video from a business across the street shows the man walking back to his car on the side of the store, “unbothered,” Iwanski said. He even took the time to put his spray paint in the trunk of his car.
Iwanski called the police and gave them a detailed vehicle description as the vandal waited for traffic at a stop sign before driving away.
Iwanski said officers told him they have a good idea of who the man is, but since his store was targeted twice in one week and had protesters at its Drag Queen Story Hour on Saturday, the notion doesn’t make him feel much better.
“These people are feeling empowered to do this because that’s the mindset in the country right now,” Iwanski said. “That’s the leadership in the country right now.”
He told the Tulsa World last week that “we have a lot of left-leaning material. Basically it’s anti-white supremacist, pro-socialism; we also offer LGBTQ+ materials. I’m gay, and one of the other owners is trans, so we kind of hit every demographic that this group doesn’t like.”
He said Monday that the store’s supporters far outweigh its public detractors. Three random people who heard via Facebook about the vandalism showed up ready to work Monday afternoon, donning safety vests and scrubbing the sidewalk just feet from fast-moving traffic.
Tulsa City Councilor Kara Joy McKee stopped by on her way to a news conference to offer her support to the store’s owners, as well. She said she learned of the vandalism when constituents tagged her in the store’s post on Facebook.
“I appreciate constituents letting me know when things like this happen, and the fact that so many let me know reminds me that this dude is not representative of Tulsa,” McKee said. “His efforts to make us afraid are not going to work. We come together as a community to welcome all people.”