Historic Jesus statue decapitated in Texas cathedral vandalism
© El Paso Diocese

Police in El Paso, Texas, have detained a suspect after a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was destroyed in an area cathedral on Tuesday.

The Catholic Diocese of El Paso said on Instagram that a suspect came into St. Patrick Cathedral’s sanctuary and destroyed the nearly 90-year-old statue located behind the main altar. 

Police said in a Wednesday statement that Isaiah Cantrell, 30, was arrested Tuesday in connection with the vandalism. He was charged with criminal mischief and possession of marijuana before being booked into the El Paso County Detention facility under $20,500 in bonds.

Police confirmed to The Hill that the investigation is ongoing.  

The cathedral said in the post on Instagram that it was “open and available for prayer” at the time of the vandalism.

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

Bishop Mark Seitz said, “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.”

“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,” Seitz added.

Three Catholic churches in the El Paso area were the targets of arson attacks last year, including St. Patrick Cathedral. The FBI offered rewards totaling $15,000 for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the cases.