Natchez Police announce arrest in vandalism of Turning Angel monument

Published: Jun. 27, 2020 at 12:07 AM CDT
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NATCHEZ, Miss. (KNOE) - Natchez City Police have arrested a man for vandalizing a long-standing cemetery monument.

According to NPD, officers were called to the Natchez City Cemetery on Tuesday where they were told by the cemetery director that the 112-year-old “Turning Angel” monument was knocked to the ground.

Police arrested 20-year-old Austin Petty of Crosby Thursday and charged him with felony malicious mischief.

According to NPD, Petty along with others drove into Natchez from out of town on Tuesday. They said Petty rocked the monument until it fell to the ground. Police said the others remained in the vehicle and warned him “not to do anything stupid.” Police say the other occupants were cooperative with the investigation and encouraged Petty to talk to the police.

NPD said that their testimonies were supported by video evidence, and while the arrest provided closure, the principle is what mattered.

“It’s just heartbreaking to know that this was a senseless act of someone being reckless that lead to the damage of this monument that so many people care so much about,” said NPD Chief Walter Armstrong.

The monument was built in memory of four women who died in the Natchez Drug Company explosion in 1908.

The monument is an attraction for both Mississippi natives and visitors alike. Several people drove by Friday and said they were shocked to hear the news.

“Being in a cemetery I think people need to have respect I mean anywhere you need to have respect,” said Cecilia Davoren who drove from Arkansas to visit the monument.

NPD said that this was not connected to national protests and it was not racially motivated.

The estimated damages are $40,000. If you are interested in donating, you can make donations out to the following address.

Turning Angel Fund

P.O. Box 1738

Natchez, Mississippi 39121

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