HOUSTON -- Ugly words found spray painted on a Brazoria County Home have been replaced with words of support for the couple who planned to move in.
Phillip and Shana Harris filled out a police report on Wednesday aftertheir new home in Danbury was vandalized. N**** was sprayed across the garage and the letters KKK were tagged on the front walkway below what appeared to be an image of a noose.
Before ever unpacking, the Harris family was ready to leave with their 10 and 12-year-old daughters. But then something changed.
"They're bringing their kids, saying your kids can play with my kids. [They’re saying] we don't know who did it, but we'll help ya'll get to the bottom of it,” Phillip Harris said.
The family said they have been overwhelmed with support from across the rural neighborhood. They said strangers have also been reaching out to them over the phone and on Facebook.
“It feels good to cry tears of joy today that I wasn't crying because I felt hated on. I cried because people are on our side,” said Shana Harris.
Flowers, cards and other gifts were delivered to the Harris family, letting them know that they are welcome.
During filming for a KHOU follow-up story, that outpouring was seen firsthand. A couple from the community came knocking to offer a warm welcome.
"It's just heartbreaking. It’s just unfair. I don't even know. It's just so emotional that people could be so ugly,” said neighbor Jessie Smith, with tears in her eyes.
The emotions soon took over right before more neighbors came knocking.
“You have a heart. That’s what feels so good and amazing,” cried Shana Harris.
She and her husband said they also feel much better about the response they’ve received from the Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office. On Wednesday, the Harris family said they were not given validation that the case was being pursued as a hate crime.
On Thursday, investigator Jerome Griffin was assigned to the case. He had the opportunity to meet with the Harris family and has launched an investigation.
He assured them and the public that this is a high-priority case. He said he is pursuing it as a hate crime.
“If you want to have an interracial relationship with somebody, that’s your decision. That’s not right for anybody else to interrupt that or change their living ways,” said Griffin.
Griffin said that he is already in the process of developing persons of interest.
According to the Brazoria County District Attorney, the racist vandalism is punishable by mandatory time in jail.