Police investigating arson at Calgary residential school memorial

Calgary police are investigating an arson that took place at the City Hall residential school memorial Tuesday night.

Just before 11:30 p.m., City Hall security officers noticed a man on CCTV who appeared to attempt to light the memorial on fire before fleeing.

Security officers were able to quickly extinguish the fire, but several pairs of shoes and other objects were heavily damaged.

The memorial was started in June as a tribute to the lives lost at Canada’s residential school system, following the discovery of 215 unmarked graves outside the location of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., and 751 unmarked graves outside a former residential school in Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan.

Investigators released CCTV stills of the suspect Wednesday. He’s described as having short hair, wearing a black baseball hat, black backpack, blue jeans, white-soled shoes and a plaid shirt.

Investigators are being assisted by the hate crimes and extremism unit in an effort to determine the motivation behind the fire.

Police investigators say they are aware of tensions in the community around discoveries made at residential schools, and recent arsons and vandalism incidents at various churches.

residential schools, tribute, memorial, Calgary

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the police on the non-emergency line at 403-266-1234. Anonymous tipsters can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, online or by using the P3 Tips app available at Apple or the Google Play Store.

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