MIAMI (CBS4) – Miami Dade School Police are putting a new security plan in place at Ada Merritt Elementary School in Little Havana after a dad was severely beaten while picking up his son from school.
On Tuesday around 4 p.m., Jean Baptiste parked his car across the street from the school. At the time witnesses said three young men appeared to be drunk and urinating in the street. One of those men opened the passenger side door of Baptiste’s car and said “What up?”
Baptiste said he thought it was a case of mistaken identity. So he got out of his car and ignored the men. But two of the men followed him inside.
“Then when I’m walking across the street to go inside the school, they attacked me,” he recalled. “They start swinging at me throwing a punch at me.”
Baptiste said he tried to fight back.
“The one would try to hold me and the other two was throwing the punch,” he said.
He yelled at more than a dozen parents on the sidewalk to call 911. Many did and Baptist tried to run away from his attackers and seek shelter inside the school.
“When I looked they were fighting and the man fell on the ground and they were dragging him, trying to drag him out of the school,” said Deanna Barnett, a parent who witnessed the attack. “He was bleeding at this point, I don’t think he could see out of this left eye cause there was blood and the blood was spouting. I moved away. I didn’t want blood to get on me.”
The three men eventually ran and paramedics rushed Baptiste to the hospital. Police tracked down and arrested two of the attackers, one juvenile and 18 year old Armando Garcia. Investigators are still searching for the third person.
Meanwhile the incident created an uproar among parents. Hundreds of parents met Friday morning with police and school administrators demanding tighter security in and out of the high performing magnet school.
“If you look at the track record history of that school that’s a very safe school,” said Sgt. Ivan Silva. “There’s not that many incidents in that school.”
Silva said police are increasing patrols at Ada Merritt.
“At this time our department does have a security plan in place,” he said. “But we don’t want to disclose that at this time because it might compromise the plan itself.”