A man who recently decapitated a Jesus Christ statue outside of a church in Charleston, South Carolina told police he did so for religious reasons, citing the Ten Commandments.
Charles Jeffrey Short of Columbia was arrested after he decapitated a Jesus Christ statue using a Kobalt sledgehammer outside of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in downtown Charleston in the early hours of Sunday morning. Two witnesses contacted police after they saw a man lob off the head of the statue at around 5:45 a.m. Short, 38, was then found walking near the church on Huger Street. When police asked him where he was coming from, he pointed to the church on King Street.
According to the Charleston Post Courier, Short gave authorities permission to search his backpack, where they found the sledgehammer with "color dust/residue," assumedly from the six-foot concrete statue that depicted the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ.
A police report states that Short told the officer that he allegedly knocked the head off of the Jesus statue because it violated the Ten Commandments. "I think I used a sledge hammer to strike that statue about six or seven times, because the first or second commandment states to not make an image of a male or female to be on display to the public," he reportedly told officers, according to WCIV-TV.
Police then returned to the church to find the head "was completely demolished off the statue" of Jesus.
Short has been charged with malicious injury to real property, and is being held on a $2,130 bond as he awaits his court hearing.
Authorities are currently investigating a similar incident that happened at the church just a few days earlier, when a member of the congregation arrived on the church property Friday to find the hands and heads of another marble statue missing. The hands and heads of a statue depicting Jesus and a child had also been knocked off, and police were alerted about the incident.
A similar incident took place in New Jersey back in January, when statues at two Catholic churches in Vineland were vandalized in what authorities called a "sicko" and "disturbed" manner that included decapitation and the gouging out of eyes.
Richard Samson, Deacon of the Christ the Good Shepherd Church, one of the churches vandalized in the attack, told CBS News: "I cannot imagine what is going through the mind of a person that would deliberately go deface statues that are dedicated to our savior."