Home News Vandal uses hammer to smash Brooklyn church statues of Mother Teresa, pope

Vandal uses hammer to smash Brooklyn church statues of Mother Teresa, pope

An unhinged man armed with a hammer smashed in the faces of a Brooklyn church’s beloved statues of Mother Teresa and a Catholic pope, police said Tuesday.

Randy Maldonado-Avila is accused of bashing in the face of Pope John XXIII, who led the Catholic church from 1958 till his death in 1963, with a hammer, as well as lopping of one of the statue’s hands. He also allegedly smashed a statue of St. Teresa of Calcutta, denting her face.

Maldonado-Avila, 30, also used the hammer to smash the glass front doors of St. Dominic’s Catholic Church on Bay Ridge Parkway near 20th Ave. in Bensonhurst about 3:30 p.m. yesterday.

“We are saddened by the damage and the senseless violation of sacred statues and the broken glass of our church doors,” church officials posted on Facebook. “We thank God no one was physically injured.”

After fleeing the church he smashed a traffic light and destroyed a glass enclosed bus stop before police rolled up and took him into custody, officials said.

“The person involved in this heinous act was quickly arrested by the police,” church officials posted. “Let us continue to pray for peace and tranquility. Our faith community is strong and we will continue to bring the light of Christ to all people.”

Cops charged Maldonado-Avila with criminal mischief. No hate crime charges were immediately filed.

Maldonado-Avila lives in Kensington, according to cops. He doesn’t have a criminal history in New York but does have a diagnosed mental illness, a police source said. His arraignment in Brooklyn Criminal Court was pending Tuesday.


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