VP Pence makes unannounced stop at vandalized Jewish cemetery - KMOV.com

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VP Pence makes unannounced stop at vandalized Jewish cemetery

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Vice President Mike Pence made an unannounced trip to the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City Wednesday. (KMOV) Vice President Mike Pence made an unannounced trip to the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City Wednesday. (KMOV)
Crowds outside the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery (KMOV) Crowds outside the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery (KMOV)

UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- Vice President Mike Pence made an unannounced trip to the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City Wednesday.

"People of Missouri are inspiring the nation by your love and care for this place, for the Jewish community in Missouri and I want to thank you for that inspiration for showing the world what America is all about," said Vice President Pence to the crowd.

154 gravestones were damaged at the historic Jewish cemetery over the weekend. Police said they do not have evidence to indicate the vandalism was a hate crime, but said they are continuing their investigation and are not ruling anything out. No arrests have been made.

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens and the Vice President raked and picked up leaves on the back corner side of the cemetery, which is the oldest and where most of the vandalism occurred.

"I know who Missourians are. We are a great people and what happened here the other night doesn’t represent who we are," said Governor Greitens.

Police have not said it was a targeted hate crime even though many people have pointed to the vandalism as anti-Semitism.  News 4 asked the Governor if he had any more information that pointed to that.

"I actually reached out to the University City Chief of Police, we talked. I let him know any resources that he needs from the state we are here, we are ready to work with them to solve this crime,” said Greitens.

The FBI told News 4 it is ready to jump in and investigate if local police decide a federal civil rights violation occurred.

At a speech in Fenton Wednesday Pence said that the vandalism along with recent threats to Jewish community centers is a "sad reminder" of the work that needs to be done to root out hate and prejudice.

Greitens said Tuesday he had planned to visit the cemetery to help in clean-up efforts and asked for volunteers to join him.

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