Skip to Content

El Paso man faces added charges after arrest for statue destruction because Jesus’ skin color ‘wrong’

Isaiah Cantrell
Isaiah Cantrell, arrested for allegedly vandalizing Jesus statue.
El Paso Diocese
A statue of Jesus that was vandalized at St. Patrick Cathedral in El Paso.

UPDATE #2: El Paso police said Friday they had re-booked church vandalism suspect Isaiah Cantrell on additional charges unrelated to the Sept. 15 destruction of a Jesus statue.

Cantrell is now facing two counts of theft for allegedly stealing a President Trump campaign sign and a Thin Blue Line flag from the yard of a central El Paso home in late August.

UPDATE: Police on Wednesday identified the suspect arrested in the Jesus statue destruction at St. Patrick Cathedral as 30–year old Isaiah Cantrell.

Cantrell was charged with criminal mischief and possession of marijuana. He was being held Wednesday in the El Paso County Detention Facility on $20,500 bond.

In a court affidavit obtained by ABC-7, police said Cantrell told them the "skin color of the statue was the wrong color." Cantrell reportedly remarked that "Jesus was Jewish and therefore should be a darker skin color."

Meantime, the Diocese of El Paso announced it was setting up a fund for the shattered Sacred Heart Statue, which was estimated to be worth $25,000.

The money raised will also be used to assist with church security and renovations. Those wishing to donate can call 915-872-8412, or send the donation to Office of the Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso, 499 St. Matthews St., El Paso, TX, 79907.

ORIGINAL REPORT: EL PASO, Texas – A man brazenly walked into St. Patrick Cathedral on Tuesday morning and destroyed an almost 90-year-old statue behind the main altar of the downtown El Paso church, officials said.

The El Paso Catholic Diocese reported the incident to the media on Tuesday afternoon along with photos showing the statue's head decapitated and one of arms and the base also busted.

According to the Diocese, a suspect in the vandalism has been detained by the El Paso Police Department, which is investigating the attack.

Bishop Mark Seitz said he was saddened by the destruction of the historic statue called the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

“This statue is one of my favorite representations of Jesus – his arms open wide in welcome, his heart aflame with love for us,” Seitz said in a statement. “I would often take inspiration from this image as I prepared for Mass.”

Seitz said very little is known about the person who allegedly destroyed the statue, but explained, “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.”

Seitz added that he hopes the suspect “receives the help he needs.”
“He will be in my prayers,” the bishop added.

Article Topic Follows: ABC-7 Alert Center

Jump to comments ↓

David Burge

Author Profile Photo

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the former Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.


KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content