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Watertown Police investigating threatening sign found outside Armenian church

Police investigating threatening note found outside Watertown church
Police investigating threatening note found outside Watertown church 02:26

WATERTOWN - It is an international conflict that has reared its head here at home.  

St. Stephen's Armenian Apostolic Church was letting students in for the day when someone noticed a sign had been placed on their bulletin board Monday morning. 

The sign read "ARTSAKH IS DEAD" in all capital letters. The church posted pictures online of the sign, along with Watertown police officers removing it for evidence. 

Parishioners said the sign is meant as a threat and intimidation. Artsakh is the Armenian name of a neutralized territory that Azerbaijan took control over last week. It is just the latest move in a decades long fight there. 

Parents within the Watertown Armenian community said they felt unsafe and feared for their children's safety at school. 

"The first thing you think is are my children safe," said one parent. "Every morning I have to make a decision to I bring them to school and potentially put them in harm's way or do we stay home?" 

Father Antranig Baljian has been the pastor at St. Stephen's for 29 years and said he does not remember a threat like this on his church community. "People can protest," Baljian said. "They can give their point of view. They can write, they can speak, whatever they want to do. But this crosses the line. It was for intimidation." 

Watertown police spent much of Monday at the church, located on Artsakh Street. Police combed through surveillance video, but it is unclear if it yielded results. 

Extra police were called in to help with school dismissal and volunteers from the neighborhood stepped up to help too, according to Baljian.  

Watertown police asked for the public's help. They want anyone with information on this case to give them a call at (617) 972-6500.

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