Virgin of Guadalupe statue hit by gunfire outside SE Houston church

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe was found vandalized recently outside of a southeast Houston church.

The incident happened Dec. 29 at Queen of Peace Catholic Church in the 3000 block of Telephone Road. According to parishioners, the statue was hit by at least six bullets, which left holes in the venerated object.

Witnesses said the person responsible is a man in a red suit and a black hat, who they say was seen shooting the statue.

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After the vandalism, the statue was in the process of being restored. In this video from Susanna Rozelle, Our Lady of Guadalupe was adorned with her symbolic crown.



"I just think it's something evil, you know? It's something that's not good. We were scared because it's right across the street," said Ruby Garcia, who lives in the area.

Garcia's mother cleaned the statue every other day and said she's extremely upset.

"That day was a day she needed to clean, but she actually didn't go for some reason. It's just hard to think that someone can do that," said Garcia. Since the vandalism, the damage was covered up.

Eyewitness News contacted the church and the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston for an update on the incident and for information on where the statue may be taken next, but has not received a response.

"It's just ridiculous. The first thing I thought about, I said, 'Well, what if someone had been there and gotten shot accidently because some stupid person passed by shooting it?'" wondered Irene Garcia, another resident of the area.

Meanwhile, the Houston Police Department has not received any calls for service from the church around the time of the shooting. Anyone with information, however, is urged to contact authorities.

"There was no point," said Garcia. "There was no point, because she wasn't doing anything to that person for them to come here and shoot her out."

The site, located just feet away from Telephone Road, is visited often by parishioners and others in the area for prayer and inspiration.



Queen of Peace Catholic Church was established in 1945. It wasn't clear when the statue was installed.

Our Lady of Guadalupe traces its roots back to 1531 when an apparition of Mary, the mother of Jesus, appeared five times in Mexico, according to historical accounts. A cloak containing an image of her is located at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City and is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites for the Catholic faithful.

As far as the vandalism, Houston isn't alone when it comes to desecration of statues that are considered sacred.

A suspect in September picked up a Virgin Mary statue outside a New York church and tossed it to the sidewalk below, causing significant damage.

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