Delano Police arrest alleged suspect in repeated vandalism of New Allen Chapel AME Church

Images from the church's surveillance video allegedly show Kyle Lewis Sison, 33, spray painting racial slurs on the church's walls, windows, and sign.
Delano AME church vandalism
Posted at 5:25 PM, Nov 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-24 02:12:01-05

DELANO, Calif. (KERO) — New Allen Chapel AME Church, first vandalized in July, and then again in September, was hit a third time on Friday night, according to Reverend Bill Hence, Jr. with racial slurs all over the church's walls and windows.

"It happened late Friday night, early Saturday morning, like 1:30 in the morning," said Hince. "Our neighbors are looking out for us, and so the neighbors spotted the damage and let us know that person had struck again."

Using church surveillance video, the Delano Police Department has identified the suspected vandal as Kyle Lewis Sison, 33.

Images from the church's surveillance video show someone, allegedly Sison, vandalizing the church signs, walls, and windows with spray painted racial slurs.

According to a statement sent by Delano Police Chief Tyson Davis, Sison has been taken into custody and will be booked into the Kern County Sheriff's Office Central Receiving Facility in Bakersfield.

Reverend Hence says the church has been serving the Delano community for nearly 100 years, adding that in his nearly ten years as pastor, he's never seen anything like this before.

"It's frustrating because this does seem to be a problem that's endemic to Delano," said Hence. "Everybody that we've talked to says this isn't something that has happened all over the city and doesn't appear to be happening all over the city. It just appears to be the one guy and this one church. We're trying to figure out what's the issue."

Delano resident Zeannah Alvarado shares Pastor Hince's frustration, and says it's rare to see something like this happen in their community.

"It's just embarrassing. Totally disrespectful to the church. We love the Black community out here," said Alvarado. "It's unbelievable. I'm just glad he got caught."

Reverend Hince says following this latest case of vandalism, as with the past two instances, he's working with his congregation to begin another round of cleanup efforts.

"He didn't do different damage," said Hince. "It's still spray painting and graffiti, but he just did more of it. It's really not fair to the congregation."