El Paso cathedral vandal charged with criminal mischief

A statue of Christ was damaged in St. Patrick's Cathedral in El Paso, Texas. (Diocese of El Paso)

A man has been charged after he decapitated a statue of Christ in El Paso, Texas, while the New York Police Department is looking for a man who threw a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe onto the sidewalk outside a church in Brooklyn.

Isaiah Cantrell, 30, has been charged with criminal mischief and possession of marijuana after being arrested. Cantrell walked into St. Patrick Cathedral in El Paso on Sept. 15 and proceeded to smash the nearly 90-year-old statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that was displayed behind the altar.

Mass was not being celebrated during the vandalism, but the cathedral was open for prayer.

Cantrell reportedly told police that “the skin color of the statue was the wrong color,” and that “Jesus was Jewish and therefore should be a darker skin color.” He is being held on a $20,500 bond.

The Diocese of El Paso is raising money to assist with renovations and increased security at the cathedral. Bishop Mark Seitz earlier appealed for people to pray for Cantrell, and that he may get the help he needs.

Amid an ongoing wave of vandalism at Catholic churches, the Twitter account for the NYPD Crime Stoppers released a video Sept. 15 asking for help identifying a man who threw a statue onto a sidewalk.

The video shows two men standing outside the Shrine of Our Lady of Solace, located on Coney Island, New York, on Sept. 11. One of the men is seen climbing over a fence, where he then pulled the statue out of the ground.

The man proceeds to throw the statue onto the sidewalk. The base of the statue was damaged by the vandalism.

According to the NYPD, the man is facing charges of criminal mischief. The NYPD is offering a reward of $2,500 for any information about his identity.

By Christine Rousselle

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