Man vandalizes, decapitates 90-year-old statue of Jesus inside Texas church

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A man decapitated an almost 90-year-old statue of Jesus inside a Texas church in a brazen act this week, according to the local Catholic diocese.

The suspect — who has since been identified as 30-year-old Isaiah Cantrell — allegedly barged into El Paso’s St. Patrick Cathedral around 10 a.m. Tuesday and destroyed the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, located in the center behind the church’s main altar, according to local outlet KFOX-TV.

Photos posted by the Diocese of El Paso show the statue with a large portion of its head broken off, one of the arms, a portion of another and the base also busted.

The church was open for prayer at the time, according to the diocese.

In a statement, Bishop Mark J. Seitz expressed his sadness about the damage to the statue, which he called “one of my favorite representations of Jesus.”

“As sad as I am to see a statue attacked and destroyed, I am grateful that it was not a living person,” Seitz 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.”

Diocese of El Paso

Cantrell was taken into custody Tuesday morning by the El Paso Police Department and charged with criminal mischief and possession of marijuana, KFOX reported.

He was booked into the El Paso County Detention Facility under bonds totaling $20,500, according to the station.

“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,” Seitz said.

“I hope this might be the impetus for him to receive the help he needs. He will be in my prayers.”