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Suspected vandal in beheading of Waterbury Christopher Columbus statue identified

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WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — The beheaded Christopher Columbus statue got a lot of attention in Waterbury on Friday. First, police announced an identity of the suspect they were looking for in the Fourth of July decapitation.

Police said 22-year-old Brandon Ambrose from Port Chester, New York, climbed to the top of the statue and knocked off the head.

RELATED: Police arrest man in connection to beheading of Waterbury Columbus statue

Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo told News 8 surveillance video revealed that around 2:30 a.m. someone dressed in dark clothing appearing to be a slender-built male climbed up onto the statue and used blunt force until the statue’s head fell off.

Police recovered the head of that statue and noticed something was missing. That’s how detectives were able to follow a trail towards a suspect.

“He was trying to sell a piece of the statue — the nose that was missing from the statue’s head,” Chief Spagnolo said.

At the headless statue on Friday, a small group of protesters held a rally calling for the removal of the entire statue, saying it stands as a symbol of racism.

“Columbus was responsible for genocide, murder, rape,” said Athena Wagner of Waterbury. “Horrible things to the Native Americans here.”

RELATED: Effort underway to save and repair beheaded Christopher Columbus statue in Waterbury

Wagner said calling for the removal of the entire statue from in front of City Hall is part of a movement for reform against what they say is systemic racism.

“A movement for equality,” Wagner said. “A movement against racism. A movement against police brutality. That’s what the movement is about.”

Chief Spagnolo told News 8 his department is working to answer the call of people on the streets.

“We are willing to have discussion,” Chief Spagnolo said. “Difficult discussions that need to be had regarding police reform and justice in policing.”

Police are hoping the public can help them find Ambrose regarding the damage done to the Christopher Columbus statue.

They got an arrest warrant for him. Ambrose is charged with criminal mischief, desecration of property and larceny.

Anyone who can help police locate Ambrose is asked to call (203) 574-6941.

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