Turning Angel vandal could serve five years

Turning Angel vandal could serve five years


The Natchez Police Department has released the name of the vandal they believe is responsible for knocking the Turning Angel monument to the ground earlier in the week.

Austin Petty, 20, from the Crosby, Mississippi, area, is charged with malicious mischief over $25,000. He appeared in Natchez Municipal Court Friday where he received a $50,000 bond. If convicted, Petty could serve up to five years in jail and be fined $10,000.

Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong told the Natchez Democrat Friday that Petty has also been banned from the City of Natchez.

The Natchez Police Department wants to dispel any rumors or social media posts that attempts to link this incident to any national protest, movement or to even suggest it was racially motivated. There is no evidence to support such allegations.

This is an isolated incident of a young man exhibiting poor judgement that will cost him for years to come.

Turning Angel monument in Natchez (Photo source: Tripadvisor.com)

The Natchez Police released the following details of the incident: On Tuesday, June 23, around 12:42 p.m., officer Rebecca Minor of the Natchez Police Department was dispatched to the Natchez City Cemetery for a report of malicious mischief. The director of the cemetery, Mark Fortenbery, told Minor that around 12:30 p.m., he found the Turning Angel monument on the ground, knocked off its base. Fortenbery estimated the damages to be around $40,000.

Investigators received information that the suspect was possibly Austin Petty, and they discovered that additional individuals were at the cemetery when the incident happened.

A surveillance video and witnesses revealed that on June 23, shortly after 1 a.m., Petty jumped out of a white SUV and went over to the Turning Angel monument. The SUV’s front seat occupants remained in the vehicle, and the rear driver’s side occupant jumped out and yelled at Petty to not do anything stupid. The occupants said Austin rocked the Turning Angel until it fell over, and then they drove off. The other occupants of the SUV said they tried to get Austin to talk to the police.

Police said the SUV occupants were cooperating with the investigation and video backs up their stories.