Drunk Brooklyn man topples Virgin Mary's statue outside church and tosses it onto street in disturbing video
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK: A statue of the Virgin Mary was vandalized just outside Shrine Church of Our Lady of Solace in Coney Island on September 11 as seen on footage released by WCBS-TV. The security footage shows one man climbing over the fence to get to the statue, as another man looked on. The suspect is seen rocking the statue from its perch, then throwing it out onto the street. According to church officials, the statue was worth $4,000 and the church is now in the process of raising funds to replace it.
The footage was captured on camera on September 11, where the vandals performed the whole act in broad daylight. You can see the video here.
"To attack the Blessed Mother on the day of 9/11 in the morning in broad daylight is not only brazen, but it is a direct assault on the faith of the people that were walking by that day, wanted to have a moment of prayer to themselves, wanted to remember someone they may have lost," said John Quaglione, who is with the Diocese of Brooklyn, calling the attack a "direct assault" on the faith of the members of the church.
A witness to the attack, Sam Marrero, believes that the vandals "were drunk" when asked what their motivation for the crime could be. The police are yet to apprehend the suspects, but are on the lookout. "Who knows mentally what's going on with that person in that moment, but you don't do stuff like that," she said. There is another witness to the crime, who appears on the video with their face blurred out, and who apparently got into a fight with the suspect after the crime was committed. "The other guy came, trying to put the statue back," said Marrero. "and they started fighting. Because the other guy that was drunk — he was drunk."
The act of vandalism bashed in the face of the statue, destroyed its base, and broke off both of its hands. Police are keeping an eye out for the suspect, and are asking for any information related to the crime. The suspect was seen wearing a gray cap and a black shirt with the word 'Brooklyn' on the front.
The parishioners of the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Solace, in the meantime, have all donated to raise the thousands of dollars necessary to replace the statue, despite the struggles that have hit the area due to the pandemic. John Quaglione said that people often stand in front of the shrine to pray, and that this was especially true on September 11, in memory of the 9/11 attacks. According to CBSN New York, local parishioners have said that "the vandalism is just another example of the increased disrespect they’ve been witnessing in their neighborhood."
While the removal of statues has become a big issue in the United States at the moment as protestors tear statues of Confederate generals down, this incident appears to have been unrelated, and simply the actions of a drunken man unmotivated by the recent protests.