AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man was arrested after a Catholic church in downtown Austin was vandalized early Friday morning, the Austin Police Department said.
APD said the suspected vandal is Carlos Ramos, 33. He’s being charged with criminal mischief, a felony, and is being held at the Travis County Jail.
Police said officers responded to Cristo Rey Catholic Church, located at the corner of East Second and Robert T Martinez Jr. streets, around 2:11 a.m. Once on scene, they found a man, later identified as Ramos, throwing objects at the church’s property.
Despite damage to 30 windows and the front door, church officials said Cristo Rey Catholic Church is going to stay open. They said they were notified of the vandalism by Austin police around 2:30 a.m., and they said it looked like the vandals threw rocks at the windows and doors.
“Holding my tears back,” said Rey Vasquez, who’s a member of the church. “It’s been amazing to see everybody come back home to come help out.”
Cristo Rey also still had its Friday Lent fish fry across the street the day the vandal struck.
There’s damage to some of the pews since shattered glasses and the rocks landed on them, and the windows will be boarded up. No one was inside the church when the vandalism happened.
“We’re picking up the smallest pieces of glass. Anything the size of a mustard seed,” said Vasquez. “In the Gospel of Matthew, they mention the mustard seed, the smallest seed there is. But if you sow it right and care for it, it can grow to a 20-foot tree. That’s what we’re doing with the glass. We’re picking up every single piece and going to make it into a loving piece of art to donate back to the church.”
Officials with the Diocese said it’s especially a sad time for this to happen since Holy Week starts soon.
“Prayers to everyone and for the perpetrator,” the Diocese said.
No injuries were reported. Crews are spending the day Friday cleaning up.