ALBANY, N.Y. -- Albany Police, along with the FBI, are investigating the burning of an LGBT flag outside of the Albany Damien Center.
The charred flag was discovered early Thursday morning and community leaders are calling the incident unsettling.
"I've had a pit in my stomach all day long, sort of almost a look over my shoulder type of feeling,” said Perry Junjulas, executive director of Albany’s Damien Center.
A powerful symbol of pride in the LGBT community was destroyed in what's being called a hateful act of vandalism.
"It felt disparaging to have a symbol of our LGBT community torched,” said Junjulas.
Sometime early Thursday morning, someone is believed to have set fire to the pride flag on the lawn outside the agency dedicated to helping people living with HIV and AIDS.
"I couldn't keep quiet about what happened. I couldn't just take the flag down,” said Junjulas
An image of the group's director standing behind the burned flag circulated on social media.
"It's a threatening act. It is an act of hate,” said Albany City Councilor Judd Krasher.
The post prompted Krasher to drop off a new flag donated by nearby store Romeo's Gifts, their last pride flag in stock.
"If they think that this, whoever did this, if it was motivated thinking that they can scare us, they are severely mistaken,” said Krasher.
He calls the act disturbing, especially in the wake of the massacre in Orlando.
"Now some of this hatred has found its way right to our front lawn,” said Junjulas.
Touched by the outpouring of community support, shaken by an act that seems senseless.
"Do I still feel safe in this community, today I can't tell you that,” said Junjulas.
Police stepped up patrols of the area outside the Western Avenue building Thursday night.