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Suspect charged in Texas church vandalism, destruction of 90-year-old statue of Jesus

Vandalism happened while church was open for prayer
A man walked into St. Patrick Cathedral in El Paso and destroyed a 90-year-old statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
A man walked into St. Patrick Cathedral in El Paso and destroyed a 90-year-old statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.(Diocese of El Paso)
Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 10:01 AM CDT
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EL PASO, Texas (KWTX) - Police identified the man accused of walking into a church and destroying a 90-year-old statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as Isaiah Cantrell, 30.

The man is charged with criminal mischief and possession of marijuana, police said.

The diocese said a man walked into the sanctuary at St. Patrick Cathedral in El Paso while the church was open for prayer Tuesday morning and destroyed the statue, which was located behind the main altar.

Isaiah Cantrell, 30, was charged with
Criminal Mischief and Possession of Marijuana. He was booked into the El Paso County Detention Facility under bonds totaling $20,500.
Isaiah Cantrell, 30, was charged with Criminal Mischief and Possession of Marijuana. He was booked into the El Paso County Detention Facility under bonds totaling $20,500.(El Paso Police)

“I am in shock and we at the Cathedral are heartbroken over such an unexpected situation," said Father Trini Fuentes, the rector of St. Patrick Cathedral.

Bishop Mark Seitz also expressed his sadness and said the statue is one of his favorite representations of Jesus.

“His arms are 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.

Seitz said he is grateful no one was not hurt during the act of vandalism.

The bishop said this particularly statue of Jesus “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.”

Bishop Seitz said he would keep the man in his prayers.

“I am devastated at this irreplaceable loss as I know members of this parish community and the whole Church of El Paso will be. In this moment we will reach out in confidence to the One this statue represented and I know he will console us,” Seitz said.

Cantrell was booked into the El Paso County Detention Facility on bonds totaling $20,500.

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