MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A school bus carrying children was shot at Friday morning near a Miami middle school.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, school officials and activists said they were alarmed by this incident.
Police said another van, which transports the elderly, was also shot at near Brownsville Middle School in the area of NW 24 Avenue and 46th Street. Both vehicles ended up with their windows shattered.
Jose Ruiz was driving a bus with 14 school children inside it when his passenger side windows were shattered. Police believe a pellet or BB gun was used.
“I feel very lucky that I guess God was with us. We were driving by and we got shot at. It can happen to anybody,” said Ruiz. “We got shot at – four bullets struck my windows.”
No one was injured in the incident.
Ruiz told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that this is the first time something like this happened to him.
“I have had bottles and rocks and eggs thrown at me, but I have never been shot at,” he said.
He did not have a message for the culprits.
“Well, I guess I’m a little bit angry,” said Ruiz. “There’s no message, just thank God that everything is fine. I leave it to the man upstairs what will happen. He will take care of it.”
Carvalho showed up to the school following the incident.
“Sadly, once again unacceptable tragedy was averted in the streets of Miami-Dade. On their way to school, in a private van, 14 children, 14 children ranging from kindergarten to middle school age, could’ve become the latest victims of a horrific tragedy,” said Carvalho. “I believe we are living through a miracle.”
He continued, “Four shots shattered glass in this private van and not a single child was hurt. But this cannot continue to happen. This has been described to me as the new normal. This cannot become the new normal. This is abnormal.”
Earlier, he took to social media to share his grief on the matter.
He wants anyone with information to do the right thing by stepping forward.
“We ask anyone who has seen something and knows something to say something. I know there is a code of silence and it often forces people out of fear to shut down, but I would hope that people would have the courage to not do that,” he said.
Coincidentally, Brownsville Middle School was locked down for a while after what Carvalho said was “an unreported incident involving an armed individual” near the school. He said it was not related to this latest incident.
He said “the sanctity of children has been violated once again. To say that we are angry is an understatement.”
T. Willard Fair, the president of the Urban League of Greater Miami, spoke out.
“When you tell me how students come to school every day and have to walk through a fire zone where there’s individuals shooting, it seems to me we ought to be outraged,” he said. “Somebody ought to give us some names and we ought to dare to care that we get those names.”
School Board member Dr. Steve Gallon added, “What we witnessed this morning is another indication that our residents and our children feel trapped by the pattern of senseless violence. We have to declare an end to violence not only as a school district but as a community.”
Ebony Dunn, the principal of Brownsville Middle School, said, “Here at Brownsville I do have several students who come to me to say this is a regular occurrence here and when we look at school, this should be a safe haven for students.”
Anyone with information about this case should call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477). Callers will remain anonymous and there is a reward of up to $1,000.