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Buffalo Police announce arrest in St. John Kanty statue destruction, anti-Catholic message

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Michael Mroziak, WBFO
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Buffalo Police announced Thursday they have charged an 18-year-old man with multiple counts, including a hate crime, in the late Tuesday destruction of a Blessed Mother statue on the grounds of St. John Kanty Catholic Church.

Police have identified the suspect as Kalil Colbert. He is charged with First Degree Aggravated Harassment, Second Degree Hate Crime/Aggravated Harassment and Third Degree Criminal Mischief.

Colbert is accused of forceably removing the Virgin Mary statue from its pedestal in a garden on the church grounds, smashing its head and hands and then leaving behind a note featuring anti-Catholic messages.

One witness who spoke to WBFO Wednesday says the suspect revealed during a later confrontation at a nearby store that he was "mad at God" after praying for a favor that never came to be. Others suggested the suspect is known in the neighborhood and could perhaps have been motivated in part by mental health issues. 

Father Michael Burzynski, the parish administrator, expressed concern to WBFO Wednesday about public safety following what was revealed to be the use of an aluminum bat to destroy the statue. He also says the suspect was misguided by his notion that Catholics are "worshiping Mary," as indicated in the note. 

Colbert is scheduled to appear in Buffalo City Court next Wednesday.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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