RICHMOND HILL, Queens (WABC) -- A group of suspects were caught on camera smashing a statue of Gandhi in Queens overnight last Tuesday, the second time this month that the statue has been vandalized.
The most recent incident happened on Aug. 16 when the group walked passed the Tulsi Mandir temple in Richmond Hill. They hit the statue of Gandhi with a hammer and defaced it with spray paint.
"For anyone to use this moment to highlight hate. We respond by saying hate has no place in Richmond Hill, hate has no place in New York City, hate has no place in our country," said New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
On Wednesday, Adams joined other leaders in calling for an end to hate.
"Hindus believe in one step more than tolerance actively loving people with different backgrounds like they're your own family," Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar said.
Community leaders in the area are teaming up with the temple to make sure they show support and echo the message of the Hindu religion of love and peace.
"Hate crimes in the borough of Queens County will be prosecuted we will find you, we will hold you accountable for that," Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said.
The priest says he plans to replace the statue, but it will cost anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000.
"If all of us can stand together surely we will be able to remove hate," lead priest Lakhram Maharaj said.
Police said similar vandalism happened back on Aug. 3 and they are also looking for the people responsible for that.
As police look for the vandals, people here are looking inward fueled by love and kindness spreading messages of peace.
"We are going to embrace our communities, we're going to embrace our way of life and we're going to stand like Gandhi as we continue to walk in his footsteps," Adams said.