Police arrest man accused of vandalizing El Paso Catholic church

Isaac Jordan Soto-Olivarez The El Paso Police Department said in a July 28, 2023, news release that it had arrested 27-year-old El Paso resident Isaac Jordan Soto-Olivarez in connection with a July 17, 2023, vandalism incident at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in El Paso, Texas. | Credit: El Paso Police Department

Police in El Paso, Texas, announced that they have arrested a man suspected of vandalizing a Catholic church in the city earlier this month. 

On July 17, Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in El Paso was broken into and vandalized. The El Paso Police Department on Thursday said in a news release that it had arrested 27-year-old El Paso resident Isaac Jordan Soto-Olivarez in connection with the incident.

The police department provided details of the crime scene to which they had responded earlier in the month.

“When officers arrived, they observed the inside of the building with holy oil poured throughout different areas of the church,” the statement said. “Officers also observed several items throughout the church including crosses that were turned upside down.” 

“It was also observed [that] ‘666’ was written on several items inside of the church including a rosary candle, mirror, and on the tabernacle in the prayer room,” the news release continued. 

Soto-Olivarez was observed in security footage committing the desecration, the police said. The damages totaled upwards of $4,100.

On Thursday police located Soto-Olivarez; he “attempted to [evade] officers however was quickly apprehended.” Police subsequently executed a search warrant at his home to retrieve items reportedly stolen from the church.

In a statement on Facebook, the Diocese of El Paso said it was “grateful to the El Paso Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation for their diligent work in investigating this incident.”

“We are thankful that the physical damage to the church was minimal and has been fully cleaned up since the incident almost two weeks ago,” the diocese said, adding that it was requesting prayers “for those who work in law enforcement, for the alleged perpetrator, and for the entire Most Holy Trinity community.”

The El Paso incident comes amid a wave of church vandalizations and desecrations both around the United States and worldwide, including in New York CitySpainNicaragua, and Canada, among other countries. 

The police department said Soto-Olivarez was being held on a combined $41,000 bond.

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