A Texas man has been arrested after he allegedly knocked down and decapitated a nearly 90-year-old statue of Jesus Christ at an El Paso church this week.
The El Paso Times reported 30-year-old Isaiah Cantrell of El Paso was arrested Tuesday for allegedly targeting the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue inside St. Patrick Cathedral.
JUST IN: Isaiah Cantrell, 30, is the man accused of vandalizing the historic statue of Jesus at St. Patrick’s Cathedral yesterday morning. He’s also charged w/poss Of marijuana. Bonds total: $20,500. pic.twitter.com/f8r3NokBh5
— andra litton (@tornandra) September 16, 2020
Images of the statue show parts of its head and arms were broken off and its base was ripped from the ground.
The Diocese of El Paso shared the news of the destruction on Facebook.
“We are saddened to announce the vandalism at St. Patrick Cathedral earlier today,” the Diocese wrote. “We at the cathedral are heartbroken over such an unexpected situation.”
“The Cathedral was vandalized this morning at around 10:00am. A suspect came into the sanctuary at St. Patrick Cathedral and destroyed the almost 90-year-old statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was located in the center behind the main altar of the church. The church was open and available for prayer.”
The diocese quoted Father Trini Fuentes, the rector of St. Patrick Cathedral, as saying, “I am in shock and we at the Cathedral are heartbroken over such an unexpected situation.”
El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz also spoke out about the senseless crime.
“This statue is one of my favorite representations of Jesus — his arms open wide in welcome, his heart aflame with love for us. I would often take inspiration from this image as I prepared for Mass,” Seitz said, according to the Facebook post.
“As sad as I am to see a statue attacked and destroyed, I am grateful that it was not a living person,” he said. “But a statue, particularly this statue, concretizes and connects us to persons and ideals that are not visible to our eyes. They reveal to us realities that are close to us, but unseen.”
Seitz added, “At this point we do not know anything about the person who carried out this assault, but he certainly must be a person who is greatly disturbed to have attacked this peaceful place in our city and this image of the King of Peace.
“I hope this might be the impetus for him to receive the help he needs. He will be in my prayers.”
According to police, Cantrell is the man who committed the crime against the church.
The El Paso Times reported he has been charged with criminal mischief and possession of marijuana.
He was booked Tuesday into the El Paso County Jail and held on $20,500 bond.
The outlet reported that Cantrell had not bonded out as of jail as of Wednesday afternoon.
The 30-year-old has a prior criminal record dating back 10 years that includes charges of marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession as well as DWI, the report said.
According to jail records, Cantrell was last arrested Sept. 4 by campus police at the University of Texas, El Paso police for alleged assault on a peace officer, criminal trespassing and resisting arrest, the El Paso Times reported.
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