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La Mesa Businesses Work To Repair Damage

La Mesa residents paint murals on boards covering broken windows, June 3, 2020.

Photo by Matt Hoffman

Above: La Mesa residents paint murals on boards covering broken windows, June 3, 2020.

Stores in La Mesa are still repairing the damage after looters broke in following protests over the weekend, and some artists are doing their part to help rebuild.

Over the past few days, murals have been painted on boarded-up windows at businesses that were broken into and looted Saturday, following protests over the deaths of George Floyd.

Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

"There was a few gentlemen that came and asked if it was okay to put murals up on the boarded windows and I said, 'Of course,'" said Dan Buxton who owns Play It Again Sports in La Mesa. "Next thing I know they’re up and they look awesome."

Buxton's business was broken in Saturday. Items were stolen, windows were broken and a fire was started that left sprinklers on for hours overnight.

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"The majority of the damage was because of the water, the fire the smoke but and then there was obviously the looting," Buxton said.

Wednesday, longtime La Mesa residents Joe Mountain and his daughter Debbie Sanders were painting a mural at Round Table Pizza, just a few doors down from Play It Again Sports. It read "Be the light, spread the peace."

"We love this community," Sanders said. "We’ve lived here since 1974 and we have lots of families here and this community means a lot to us and to be apart of fixing it up is healing for all of us."

Business owners are welcoming the artwork, but it could still be weeks until some stores inside the La Mesa Springs shopping center reopen.

"The holdup is getting our floor back ready and our walls and ceilings and then getting our merchandise back again and getting it cleaned to what extent we can," Buxton said. He estimates at least $200,000 in damages.

Buxton said a teenager who stole items from his store came back this week to apologize and hand the merchandise back over. Buxton said it was not protestors that destroyed his business, but rather agitators.

"Obviously I’m hurt that they did this," he said. "That the looters did that to my business. I don’t lump the looters into the protesters, I know a lot of protesters and they’re great people."

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Photo of Matt Hoffman

Matt Hoffman
General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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