By J.D. Miles

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Vandals struck at the core of a historic Dallas Church over the weekend.

A five-foot statue of St. Peter the Apostle adorned the front of its namesake church for more than 50 years.

But now it’s in pieces on the ground after someone knocked it over early Sunday morning.

“I just think it’s a shame anyone would want to deface something so sacred and destroy a piece of history because this church has been here over 100 years.  It’s just disturbing,” says Dr. Myrna Dartson, a lifelong member of the church.

St. Peter the Apostle was the city’s first Catholic Church for blacks when it was built on the edge of downtown in 1905. Despite its history, members believe the vandals were driven more by ignorance than any racial motive.

“It’s kind of the identity of the church, of the parish, the people, the children who have grown up like me, it’s kind of the identification of the church,” says Mae Goffney, church member. “They are members of the community who are pretty lost.”

The church has no security cameras and police have no clues left behind to help the investigation.

A team of experts examined the remains of the statue on Monday, hoping to restore St Peter to its original glory.

But they say the damage to the sculpture may be beyond repair.

Church leaders say the value of the statue cannot be measured but will cost as much as $10,000 to replace.