A MAN arrested for allegedly decapitating a statue of Jesus apparently became enraged because the statue’s skin was the “wrong color.”
Isaiah Cantrell, 30, was taken into custody following the incident at St Patrick’s Cathedral in El Paso, Texas, on Tuesday morning.
Police say Cantrell entered the church, which was open for prayer, and walked behind the main altar to the historic sculpture.
The man then allegedly destroyed Jesus, which the church said is almost 90 years old.
In a court affidavit obtained by KVIA-TV, Cantrell told police the “skin color of the statue was the wrong color.”
The 30-year-old apparently said: “Jesus was Jewish and therefore should be a darker skin color.”
The Diocese of El Paso shared pictures of the statue after it was destroyed.
Pictures show the head of Jesus decapitated on the church altar, with the left hand and arm also broken off, laying on the marble ground.
The base of the figure was also disconnected and tiny pieces of the statue were seen all around the smashed figure.
The church is mourning the loss of the historic statue.
"I am in shock and we at the Cathedral are heartbroken over such an unexpected situation," St Patrick Rector Father Trini Fuentes said in a statement.
The Bishop expressed thanks that no one was hurt in the incident.
“As sad as I am to see a statue attacked and destroyed, I am grateful that it was not a living person,” Bishop Mark 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,” he added.
Seitz said earlier this week that whoever destroyed the statue was "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,” Seitz said.
Cantrell was charged with criminal mischief and possession of marijuana.
He was booked this week at the El Paso County Detention Facility on $20,500 bond.
On Friday, police said they re-booked Cantrell on additional charges unrelated to the statue destruction.
Cops say Cantrell is now also facing theft charges for allegedly stealing a campaign sign in support of President Donald Trump and a Thin Blue Line flag from a home in August.
KTSM reported that before the statue incident this week, Cantrell was arrested three times this month for charges ranging from assaulting a peace officer, to resisting arrest, and criminal trespassing.
The Diocese of El Paso has announced a new fund for the shattered statue of Jesus – estimated to be worth $25,000.
Anyone who wishes to help the church can donate to the Office of the Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso, 499 St Matthews Street in El Paso, Texas, zip code 79907.
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