Man who scrawled threatening messages on Sikh temple gets 16 months in prison

A woman walks past Hollywood Sikh Temple on Vermont Avenue in Los Feliz after it was vandalized. Artyom Manukyan was sentenced to 16 months for the crime.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

A 29-year-old man who vandalized a Sikh temple in Los Feliz in 2017 will spend a little over a year in prison after admitting he defaced the religious building.

Artyom Manukyan was sentenced to 16 months in prison Monday, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. The sentence is concurrent with a penalty Manukyan faces under a prior arson case.

Manukyan scrawled two hateful screeds on the outside of the Hollywood Sikh Temple on Vermont Avenue in Los Feliz in late August 2017, according to the LAPD.


Police were considering hate crime charges against Manukyan, saying the messages were designed as a threat to the Sikh community. He pleaded no contest to felony vandalism of religious property in August 2018.

Manukyan was confronted by several people at the time, including a man who took video and posted the crime to Facebook. After the man followed him, Manukyan threatened to slit his throat, investigators said.

The messages were drawn in black marker and are difficult to decipher. One reads “Nuke death … Sikhs,” with a profanity in between. The other refers to a group of Sikhs stabbing Manukyan when he was a boy.

Before the 2017 incident, Manukyan was previously arrested on suspicion of burglary, grand theft auto and making criminal threats.

At the time of the vandalism, there had been an 11.5% increase in hate crimes across California in the previous year, according to the California Department of Justice.