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Vandals Torch Pride Flag Outside Kansas Home Days Before Pride

Burned flag in Wichita

The alleged hate crime happened days before Wichita Pride.

Vandals torched a rainbow flag flying outside a Kansas home in an incident police will investigate as a hate crime.

The Wichita Police Department believes the incident took place Saturday between 1 and 6 a.m., according to TV station KWCH. The vandalism took plays days before Wichita Pride.

Homeowner Zack Gingrich-Gaylord said his family's home was the first to put up the flag, though several now fly in the community. He wants to make sure more fly.

"We're going to turn this around and make sure that we order more flags," he says. "We're going to make sure our neighbors have flags if they want it. We're just going to start spreading the word like, 'Hey, it's time to put up these flags.'"

NBC News reports Gingrich-Gaylord lives in the home with his wife and the couple's 11-year-old daughter.

A few weeks ago, Gingrich-Gaylord said the same flag was stolen from the home but reappeared a few days later in a neighbor's yard. On Saturday, it was torched while still flying from the side of his home.

He taunted vandals to try to target the icon on his again.

"We're just hoping the same thing happens with this," Gaylord-Gingrich said of his new flag. "We've got eight more flags on the way this time and we're plenty ready to get more. As soon as they come, we'll get one up and have more for neighbors who want them."

News reports show the burned flag still flies from Gaylord-Gingrich's home.

Thomas Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, said the timing of the event shows intent to intimidate the entire LGBTQ community and its allies ahead of Pride.

"The proper response to this is to overwhelm the conversation with love and respect and not to be silenced by people who are trying to get you to be afraid," he told KSNW.

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