Mentally-disturbed man arrested after damaging church property in neighborhood rampage

June 12, 2024 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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BENSONHURST — POLICE HAVE ARRESTED THE MAN who hammered two statues and an entrance at a Roman Catholic parish in Bensonhurst, reports the Daily News. A man with a history of mental illness used a hammer to smash in the faces of two outdoor statues of Mother Teresa and St. Pope John XXIII, at St. Dominic’s Church on 20th Avenue mid-afternoon Monday, June 10, police said Tuesday. The assailant, identified as Randy Maldonado-Avila, then used the hammer to smash the church doors and then a traffic light. He also reportedly destroyed a glass-enclosed bus stop. An alert local, identified in the Daily News as Joanne Liggieri, was able to provide a description of the vandal to police, who caught up with him after he destroyed the bus kiosk and took him into custody and charged him with criminal mischief. As of press time Tuesday, June 11, no hate crime charges had been filed although an arraignment was pending for that afternoon. The assailant had previously been diagnosed with a mental illness.

Father Michael Lynch, pastor of St. Athanasius-St. Dominic’s Parish, in a statement to the Eagle and other news media, pointed out that the vandal attacked the neighborhood as well as the church, and that NYPD has security footage. “NYPD has determined that we were not a sole target in this random attack in the neighborhood as others’ properties were also damaged,” he said. “We ask our parishioners and neighbors to pray for this person, and to pray for peace of heart and mind as nerves settle and calm returns.”


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