Texas man beheads 90-year-old Christ figurine for being of 'wrong color': 'The skin should've been darker'
EL PASO, TEXAS: A man arrested for decapitating an almost century-old figure of Jesus Christ was reportedly incensed that the sculpture was the "wrong color."
30-year-old Isaiah Cantrell was arrested following the incident on September 15 at St Patrick’s Cathedral in El Paso. Authorities say Cantrell entered the church — which was open for prayer as usual — and walked behind the main altar to the antique piece. He then allegedly destroyed the 90-year-old statue, The Sun reported. Cantrell told authorities the “skin color of the statue was the wrong color," per a court affidavit obtained by KVIA-TV. “Jesus was Jewish and therefore should be a darker skin color," he reportedly added.
The Diocese of El Paso shared heartbreaking photos of the destruction on its Facebook page. The images show the statue decapitated and his left arm broken off, laying on the marble floor of the church altar. The base of the figure was also damaged beyond repair as bits and pieces lay all around the statue. The church mourned the loss of the historic figurine.
"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. Meanwhile, the Bishop was grateful no one was hurt in the incident. “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,” Bishop Mark Seitz said in a statement. “As sad as I am to see a statue attacked and destroyed, I am grateful that it was not a living person,” he continued. “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."
Earlier this week, Seitz said 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."
Cantrell was subsequently charged with criminal mischief and possession of marijuana. This week, he was booked into the El Paso County Detention Facility on a $20,500 bond. Cantrell was reportedly re-booked on additional unrelated charges on September 18, police said. He is said to be also facing charges for stealing a campaign sign in support of President Donald Trump's re-election as well as a Thin Blue Line flag from a home in August.
Prior to the statue incident, Cantrell was arrested thrice this month for felonies ranging from "assaulting a peace officer, to resisting arrest, and criminal trespassing," per KTSM. Meanwhile, the Diocese of El Paso is raising funds to repair or replace the shattered statue — which is estimated to be worth at least $25,000.
Anyone who wishes to chip 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.