VIRGINIA GARDENS(CBSMiami) — It was an unusual site at a Catholic school in Virginia Gardens as police were called after a man’s body was discovered inside a trailer.
The man was staying there because he was working for a carnival that is being set up to raise money this weekend for the Blessed Trinity Catholic School at 4020 Curtis Parkway.
Miami-Dade Police say they were called to the school after the man committed suicide.
Ironically, said the parent of one student, had he reached out to the school and the church for help, he might not have taken his own life.
The manager of the carnival, Scott Menge, told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that the man who he identified as Russell Rockefeller was in his 40s and was from Alabama or Georgia.
Menge said Rockefeller had been overwhelmed lately by the recent loss of his wife and that may have driven him to take his own life.
“I guess she had passed away a few weeks ago and he was crying about it and very depressed,” said Menge. “He did not work directly for the carnival. He was a vendor. I talked to the gentleman who he worked for and he said in the last couple of weeks he was holding a picture of his wife who passed away and he was crying and he was really depressed. In the past 3 weeks, he was depressed the whole time.”
“Now I am really concerned and upset about this and want to know if this man had any children who we should be concerned about as well, said Menge.
Casey Parker, the father of a student at the school said, “I am shocked. I am shocked. Things don’t happen here at this school like that. It is really good. My son has gone here for 5 years and this has never happened before. The school is very quick to react to things.”
“I’m sure that if he reached out, the church would have taken care of him,” said Parker. “It’s a lot to lose your wife. It’s a hard life traveling in the carnival and the circuit and it sure takes a lot. You have to be willing to do that. I’m sad. I wish he could have walked a few steps to the church. I’m sure Father Alfaro would have taken care of him and this would have never happened.”
Parker said, “People in this church and in this community, we have been here and we care for these carnival workers. They come back here year after year. A lot of church members know them. We don’t know what goes on in people’s lives. You have to reach out. Unfortunately, some people are going to commit suicide and you can’t stop them. You never know.”
The school took some extra steps to keep students away from the scene.
Mary Ross Agosta, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Miami, said the incident was reported at 9:45 a.m.
“I want to assure parents that, at all times, the children were safe and they never saw any part of police arriving. There were no sirens. The children were relocated from classrooms overlooking the area and the trailer where the body was found,” said Agosta.
She said, “The children at no time had any connection to the police presence. The school was placed on lockdown. We wanted to make sure that police had access to where they wanted to go. School will be dismissed at the regular time.”
The carnival is slated to run from Thursday night through Sunday night.
Ross Agosta said it would open after inspections are completed.
The Miami-Dade Police homicide unit is investigating and is not officially releasing the man’s name until investigators have spoken to his family. They are not saying how he took his life.
Miami-Dade Police Detective Robin Pinkard said the man’s body was discovered, “by an adult.”