St. Patrick’s Cathedral in El Paso, Texas was vandalized Monday and the 90-year-old statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was destroyed.
Police officials identified the man allegedly responsible as 30-year-old Isaiah Cantrell.
The Catholic Diocese of El Paso said Cantrell was taken into custody Tuesday morning by the El Paso Police Department and the investigation into the vandalism is ongoing.
According to the diocese, the vandalism occurred around 10 a.m. Monday. The statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was located behind the main altar of the church, was destroyed.
The church was open and available for prayer at the time of the vandalism, the diocese said.
“I am in shock and we at the Cathedral are heartbroken over such an unexpected situation,” the Rector of St. Patrick Cathedral, Fr. Trini Fuentes, said.
Bishop Seitz also expressed his sadness about the damage caused to the historic Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue:
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. As sad as I am to see a statue attacked and destroyed, I am grateful that it was not a living person. But a statue, particularly this statue, concertizes 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. 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. 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.
Cantrell was charged with criminal mischief and possession of marijuana. He was booked into the El Paso County Detention Facility under bonds totaling $20,500.