Waterbury family finds their Pride flag burned in their front yard, community reaches out in support

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — A disturbing discovery in Waterbury. A Pride flag was burned in a family’s front yard.

Brian Petrarca and his family got quite a shock when they returned home from church Sunday. As they were pulling into their driveway, they could see something was different about the Pride Flag mounted in their front yard.

“We noticed our flag was burned,” Brian said. Someone had set fire to it.

“Saddened that someone destroyed it and that there’s so much hate in someone’s heart to do that,” he said.

Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo told News 8 police are investigating and taking this incident very seriously.

“This certainly is being investigated as a potential of being a hate crime,” the chief said. “Somebody may be charged with that particular statute.”

The incident originally coming to light because one of Brian’s children made a post about it on Facebook. That’s when the family got another shock — this time, a good one. As of the writing of this article, Zach Petrarca’s post has generated more than 50 positive comments of support for his family.

“When I originally posted, I was nervous that people weren’t going to respond to the post well,” Zach said. ‘I was expecting more hateful comments and more hateful actions, but this was the complete opposite. There was an outpouring of support. People telling us to buy a bigger flag. People telling us ‘love wins.'”

“It was so nice to see the community reach out and care,” Brian said.

Brian told News 8 he hopes Waterbury Police can catch whoever did this so the family can have some sort of closure.

“I want people in my community to feel safe and protected and feel like they can express themselves in the fashion they live in,” said Chief Spagnolo. “I think that’s extremely important.”

Brian says the family is putting up a new Pride flag soon.

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