3 arrested after Confederate statue defaced again outside NC church, police say

3 arrested after Confederate statue defaced again outside NC church, police say
Cornelius Police arrested three suspects after a 111-year-old Confederate monument was vandalized again on the lawn of Mt Zion United Methodist Church in Cornelius Tuesday. David T. Foster III DTFOSTER@CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.COM (Source: David T. Foster (Charlotte Observer))

CORNELIUS, N.C. (Charlotte Observer) - Police arrested and charged three suspects after a 111-year-old Confederate monument outside of a United Methodist church in Cornelius was defaced again early Tuesday.

At about 2 a.m., police arrested Treyvon Ciccio, 19, of Cornelius, and Gabriel Huezo, 21, of Charlotte, and charged them with first-degree trespassing and injury to personal property, Mecklenburg County jail records show. Ciccio and Huezo are free on $12,000 bail, according to the jail.

A juvenile also was arrested in the vandalism outside Mt. Zion UMC north of Charlotte, Cornelius Today reported.

Vandals spray painted the words “racist” and “BLM,” short for Black Lives Matter, on the monument, according to video taken of the scene by The Charlotte Observer. Police did not return two calls from the Observer Tuesday.

The vandalism came just hours after another often-vandalized Confederate statue in the Charlotte region was moved on a flatbed from its 111-year-old perch in downtown Salisbury into temporary storage, Observer news partner WBTV reported.

The Salisbury City Council and the local United Daughters of the Confederacy chapter reached an agreement to place the Fame statue in the Old Lutheran Cemetery, where Confederate dead are buried, the Observer has reported.

LEGACY OF ‘SHAME’

Both the Salisbury and Cornelius statues have been vandalized repeatedly in recent years, as calls grew to move them from their places of prominence.

Police in 2017 charged a Davidson man with misdemeanor injury to property after the Cornelius memorial was defaced with an “X” in blue spray paint over the words “Our Confederate Soldiers,” the Observer reported at the time.

Demands to remove Confederate monuments have occurred nationwide in recent months, prompted by widespread protests for the Black Lives Matter movement and against police brutality in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by Minnesota police.