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Threat found written on neighborhood sidewalk

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A teenage prank, or a death threat? That’s what residents of one South St. Louis neighborhood are asking themselves, after noticing the word “kill” spray-painted on the sidewalk.

The big black letters on the corner of McCausland and Oleatha were power-washed away Tuesday afternoon, but not before giving dozens of neighbors a bit of a scare.

Resident Richard Davis says, “I was coming home from work one day, I work overnights, and I happened to glance by it. I went over and looked at it and was like, does that really say what it says?”

There’s no mistaking the “kill” written in two-foot long letters, right in front of Davis’s home.

He says, “It was a little off-putting. I had to spend time in my house thinking whether or not I made somebody angry or not.”

After some thinking, he reported it to the police, because graffiti with that threatening, morbid tone isn’t normal in his neighborhood.

Davis says, “It’s nowhere else, it’s not around any other place that I’ve noticed. It’s just here, on the corner, right outside the house I live in.”

The graffiti stayed there for a few days before Operation Brightside workers removed it with powerful blasts of water, sand and chemicals.

Christina Stemmler, who lives right across the street from the graffiti, thinks it’s just some young people acting irresponsibly.  She says, “I feel like it’s a true testament to just, kids being kids sometimes. I don’t see it as a scary thing. Not a lot of bad things happen in this area where I would feel in any type of danger.”

But according to Alderman Joe Vacarro, this graffiti is a more serious offense. He says, “Whoever did this should know it can be considered a hate crime. It's not a joke; it's beyond the normal type of graffiti.”

Vacarro says he’s received at least 20 emails and two phone calls from residents concerned about the issue.

Now that it’s gone, Davis is relieved. He just hopes the spray-painted “kill” was only a word, and not a vague, veiled threat.

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