Man arrested for vandalizing store’s Pride display

Surveillance video of suspect who spray painted a Pride Month merchandise display at the Target in Turkey Creek. (Source: KPD)

A Pride Month display at a West Knoxville department store was heavily damaged by a man who spray-painted more than $3,800 worth of merchandise, authorities said Thursday.

The suspect, 31-year-old Jonathan Burns, has been arrested and faces a charge of felony vandalism, according to the Knoxville Police Department. 

The vandalism occurred on the afternoon of June 13 when a man entered the Target Superstore on Parkside Drive in Turkey Creek just before 3 p.m. and proceeded to use red spray paint to effectively destroy an entire display full of LGBTQ+ clothing and other merchandise that had been placed out for Pride Month, police said. 

When an employee told the suspect to leave the store, the vandal placed the can of spray paint on the floor and took off, police records show. 

The value of the destroyed merchandise was estimated at approximately $3,884. 

KPD investigators used fingerprint evidence from the can as well as security video to eventually identify the suspect as Burns, who was taken into custody Wednesday evening at his West Knoxville home with help from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, a KPD spokesperson said. 

Target issued a statement about the incident saying the company “is proud to support the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month and year-round” and has “no tolerance for this kind of behavior.”

Burns couldn’t be reached for comment and it wasn’t clear Thursday if he had an attorney.

Jonathan Burns

Published on June 24, 2022.