MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A Miami Beach crossing guard is being praised for potentially preventing a dangerous situation from unfolding in front of an elementary school when she alerted police about a man who, an officer discovered, was carrying a concealed, loaded firearm, leading to the man’s arrest.
Leticia Barreto has helped students cross the street outside St. Patrick Catholic School for 17 years.
Due to COVID-19, schoolchildren have been encouraged to be picked up by their parents, so there’s currently less street crossing.
Barreto, a fixture outside the school, said her eyes are always on the children, as well as on those individuals who don’t belong.
Thursday afternoon, Barreto spotted the subject outside campus, visibly agitated.
“He appeared to be upset and angry,” she said.
It was then that, Barreto said, her antenna went up.
“He wasn’t a parent, he was acting weird, saying bad words,” she said.
The children had not been let out at that time, but they were about to be, so Barreto took action.
“I went to the police officer. I flagged him down,” she said.
According to the arrest report, the subject was “standing within 500 feet from the elementary school, pacing back and forth on the sidewalk.”
When the officer spotted a bulge in the subject’s waistband, he went ahead and apprehended him.
A quick search of the man revealed he was carrying a firearm.
After confiscating the weapon, the officer arrested the subject, later identified as Randall Richard, for felony possession of a concealed firearm.
“Oh, my goodness!” said Barreto when a 7News crew showed her a picture of the gun.
When she learned it was loaded and had a bullet in the chamber, the crossing guard attempted to hold back her tears.
“I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that,” she said.
When asked how this made her feel, Barreto replied, “I have a son. These are my kids, these are my parents, this is my staff. You look out for the people, ’cause that’s your job.”
A faculty member praised Barreto for her years of service.
“She’s a godsend. She’s a saint,” said the teacher.
Barreto’s supervisor echoed the faculty member’s compliment.
“She did go above and beyond by seeing something and saying something,” she said, “and she prevented — who knows?”
For Leticia, it’s just another day on the job, making sure students leave campus safely.
“I see them every day. They see me every day: ‘Hi, how are you doing?'” she said. “You become a family.”
Richard is also facing a misdemeanor charge of trespassing in a school safety zone.
When asked what he was doing in the area, officials said, Richard told detectives he was scouting it out because he was thinking about moving to Miami Beach.
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