St. Pete church to beef up security in wake of shot fired through preschool window

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A bullet hole in a window at Allendale United Methodist Church is a stark reminder of a scary situation.

“Around 3:00 [Thursday], one of our teachers heard what she thought was a rock hit the window and saw broken glass,” Rev. Andy Oliver said.

That teacher quickly realized it wasn’t a rock, but a bullet that went into the preschool where 11 two-year-old kids were on hand.

A day later and church staff is hard at work getting security up to par.

“We had an emergency meeting last night and talked about some new emergency protocols we’re gonna go through and have some risk assessments,” Oliver said.

Two security firms will check the church grounds and find ways to beef up security.

Oliver told 8 On Your Side that more surveillance cameras will be added on-site to cover every inch of the property.

School was closed Friday so staffers could sort things out.

“We’re opening Monday and for the next week we’ll have added police presence and security for next week while we get some of those measures in place,” Oliver said.

Neighbors hope all the changes bring peace of mind to a place where security should not need questioning.

“As a community, as faith members, as a world, we need to get around this church to make it safe. We’re not going to be intimidated by shots. It’s not how it should be!” neighbor Ann Wade Stone said.

8 On Your Side reached out to the St. Petersburg Police Department and a spokeswoman said there aren’t any updates on the investigation.

It’s unclear if the bullet went into the preschool by accident or if someone deliberately shot into the building.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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