DALLAS — Police have arrested and charged Dallas mayoral candidate Richard Sheridan in connection to the 2014 case involving "666" tags that were spray painted across the Oak Lawn area.
Authorities have charged Sheridan with two state felonies, but could upgrade the charges to third degree felonies if the crime is proven to have been targeted toward the LGBT community, said Assistant Chief Randy Blankenbaker in a news conference Friday afternoon.
In June of 2014, the numbers "666" were spay painted in red on the Legacy of Love Monument and the Cathedral of Hope. Other locations, including a Dallas North Tollway overpass, were also targeted with the graffiti.
Blankenbaker said Sheridan was arrested at his home Friday afternoon.
"Both charges of state jail felonies [are] due to the type of structures that were defaced by the paint, in one case a place of worship and in the other a public monument," he said of the charges.
The assistant chief said police believe Sheridan purposefully chose the Oak Lawn structures "due to their connection or significance to the LGBT community."
"If it's proven in trial that Sheridan selected the locations based on a bias he has or prejudice against a person's sexual orientation that penalty may be enhanced from a state jail felony to a felony of a third degree," he said.
Blankenbaker called the investigation into the taggings "extensive" and said police reviewed video footage taken in the areas of the crime and interviewed Sheridan multiple times before his arrest.
Authorities focused their probe on Sheridan based on previous media he passed out, including fliers with "666" written across them, and subjects he previously addressed at Dallas City Council meetings that shed light on his beliefs. Blankenbaker also said various tips suggested Sheridan frequently expressed anti-gay sentiments.
"The LGBT community was significantly alarmed and disturbed and felt very harassed when all these offenses happened over a couple of days," said Officer Laura Martin, the Dallas Police Department's LGBT liaison officer.
Police also previously released video of a suspect on a bike near the scene of one of the crimes, and later found that Sheridan did own a bicycle.
Sheridan also ran for Dallas City Council in 2013, but didn't win the seat.