Serra’s statue was toppled and painted Saturday night
Published September 28, 2015; Updated at 9:21 pm – EDT.
CARMEL, CALIFORNIA — Police in Carmel, California are seeking individuals responsible for vandalizing the historic Carmel Mission Basilica on Saturday night or early Sunday morning. The Basilica’s graveyard houses the mausoleum where the body of Junipero Serra is housed.
Police were notified of the vandalism about 6:30 a.m. It is not known how many people were responsible were involved with the damage that involved numerous statues, gravesites, doorways and a fountain.
The vandalism came three days after Serra was canonized by Pope Francis in Washington, D.C. and appears to be related to the outrage festered by the pope’s action.
The vandals left behind messages inscribed with a marker that read: “Greed,” “Saint of Genocide” and “This man is responsible for genocide,” according to Carmel-by-the-Sea Police Sgt. Luke Powell, who discussed the vandalism with Native News Online on Monday afternoon.
Various tombstones were disturbed in the courtyard. The door to the mausoleum where Serra is buried was defaced with paint. Vandals did not break the lock to the mausoleum. Two statues, including Serra’s, were painted. Two other doors at the Basilica were painted.
The acts of vandalism consisted of gallons of wet paint poured and thrown on entryways, statues, gravesites and a fountain in the courtyard, basilica, mausoleum and cemetery.
Surveillance cameras were present, but were not active during the time of the vandalism, according to Powell. A private security guard was reportedly on the site at the time of the vandalism.
There are no named suspects at the current time and the investigation continues.