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DIGGING DEEPER: Tucson man who vandalized cathedral no stranger to legal system

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TUCSON - A Tucson man charged with vandalizing several downtown buildings, including St. Augustine Cathedral, is still behind bars.

News 4 Tucson interviewed Steven Trejo in November 2016.

"Right now at this time in my life, I'm not doing drugs, I'm just homeless," Trejo said in November 2016. "You know what I mean? When push comes to shove, I'm not sure whose problem it is to get me off the streets."

Trejo said he had been living on the streets for 12 years.  

He added he was following the rules and was trying to get housing.  

"Driver's license, Social Security, letters from doctors - anything and everything they want," Trejo said. "And, seven or eight months go by and nothing. You know what I mean?  I'm still waiting."

Now, Steve Trejo is sitting in the Pima County Jail. He is being held without bond. He faces aggravated assault charges.

This is after the Tucson Police Department said Trejo threatened several volunteers at the Z Mansion on April 19.

Court documents showed Trejo began swinging a stick at several people who were providing medical treatment to the homeless, including potential COVID-19 patients.

Rick McCullum is a community health specialist and a volunteer at the Z Mansion.

"People on the street respect what goes on here; a lot of people come here, and you know, if we ask somebody to stay away for a period of time, they generally do that," McCullum said. "He's just been the exception to that rule."

McCullum added Trejo had been to the mansion to receive help many times in the past.  

"In the past few months, he has decided that this place is a bad place and the people here are bad people, and he has reacted quite violently to that," McCullum said.

Trejo is also accused of smashing several stained glass windows at St. Augustine Cathedral. This happened one day after being arrested for threatening volunteers at Z Mansion.

In fact, Trejo has a long criminal history with a number of arrests in the past year-and-a-half.

Trejo's crimes range from possession of drug paraphernalia, to disorderly conduct and assault.  

In many cases, the charges were "dismissed" by the city attorney.

"It makes the volunteers nervous, we have to be careful, but we do training on how to deal with violent people," McCullum said. "So, you know, we were prepared when he acted out as strongly as he did the last time."

Trejo declined an interview with News 4 Tucson.

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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