Police believe Comstock Elementary school vandals have gang ties

MIAMI (WSVN) - An elementary school was ransacked and destroyed in Miami, and police believe the vandalism may be gang-related.

7News spoke to Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ police chief who said that this incident is the worst case of vandalism he has ever seen. He said the people who did this didn’t steal anything, but he thinks gang members are behind the incident at Comstock Elementary School and believes they only wanted to do damage.

The school serves one of the poorest areas in Miami and now has taken a damaging toll. Desks and papers were everywhere, computers were destroyed, and the vandals even set a fire inside the school, according to police.

“Quite a sad event,” said Miami-Dade County Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. “To think that, during the holiday season, individuals not with the intent to steal but to simply destroy, would break into this beautiful school.”

According to investigators, gang members sprayed fire extinguishers all over the classrooms. “I’ve worked gangs my entire career and I can tell you this is definitely gang-related,” said M-DCPS Police Chief Ian Moffett.

Police were notified of the school vandalism at around 12:30, Tuesday morning. Officials set up a perimeter in Miami’s Allapattah neighborhood.

“The school has nothing to do with gang-related activities or anything like that,” said parent Aileen Luna. “I don’t know why they would affect an education or something that’s kid-related.”

Another parent in the area said he wants to see the vandals face justice. “That’s messed up,” he said. “I wouldn’t like that at all. I hope they catch them.”

According to schools police, the people involved allegedly jumped onto an overhang before they used rocks to break windows on the second floor and enter the school.

Nearly 24 classrooms were damaged. The cleanup will cost approximately $30,000.

“All my years doing this, this is probably one of the worst vandalism scenes I’ve seen in my career,” Moffett said. “One of the worst.”

Since the vandals entered the school through the windows, officials said the alarm wasn’t triggered until the burglars left through a door.

Parents who were at a park nearby expressed how upset they were. “Not only is it stupid, it puts the children in a state of fear ’cause it’s their school,” said parent Daniel Rosales. “It takes them out of their comfort zone, out of their safety zone, starts to feel, our school ain’t safe.”

Carvalho said cleanup crews will be working inside the school around the clock in order to get everything back to normal for the first day back to school after the holidays.

If you have any information on this case of vandalism, 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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