Police searching for violent robbery suspect in Coconut Grove

COCONUT GROVE, FLA. (WSVN) - - A police perimeter was set up in Coconut Grove due to a robbery investigation, placing a nearby school temporarily on lockdown.

According to Miami Police, the suspect stole a wallet in July while in Coral Gables and was being pursued by an officer before he slipped away in a Coconut Grove neighborhood, around 3 p.m., Thursday.

Frances S. Tucker Elementary School, located at 3500 Douglas Road, was temporarily placed on lockdown, while officers searched for the suspect, who police have identified as 18-year-old Devante Fance. That lockdown has since been lifted, and officials said no children or faculty were ever in danger.

“It’s safe, and he’s all right. No problem, I’m good,” said a parent. “Everybody is good. I don’t know what’s going on. I come get my son.”

Police had established a perimeter in the area between Thomas and Williams avenues, and K-9 units are on the scene, but the search came up empty.

Police said, in a robbery involving Fance, several weeks ago, he physically struck an officer before taking off.

On Thursday, police encountered the suspect, again. Once Fance was aware police were looking for him, he bolted into the street.

A man who told 7News that he is Fance’s father believes that he is innocent. “Just be safe and just call my phone and let me know where you’re at,” said Wade Merrell. “I’ll come get you. I’ll turn you in myself.”

“The possibility that he is armed is always there,” said Miami Police Lieutenant Freddie Cruz. “That’s why we’re asking everyone in the area to remain indoors. There’s no business in the area. Please stay out of the area, let the officers work. That’s exactly why we have the perimeter, and as you can see, we have plenty of personnel, so you should feel safe.”

Children at Frances S. Tucker Elementary School were taken out in an orderly fashion in what school officials call a “controlled release.” Parents, school faculty and police all worked together to make sure the process went smoothly. “All the students are safe, all the faculty is safe and all of the residents here are safe,” Cruz said. “We’re asking people to please remain indoors at the current moment until we are able to apprehend this individual.”

According to members of the suspect’s family, Fance’s mother was taken into police custody hours ago by City of Miami Police.

Fance remains at large. If you know where he is, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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