The small community of Bella Bella is in disbelief as to why someone would enter the community’s only school, and cause so much damage just days before school was to reopen, said RCMP Cst. Lesley Smith, North District media relations officer.
Smith said RCMP have confirmed that a lone male entered the school at approximately 4 a.m. on August 23 and once inside, the suspect went on a rampage and smashed TV’s, smart boards, computers, interior and exterior windows. Paint was also found dumped on the floors and computers.
“The damage sustained to the school was estimated at $100,000,” Smith said. “The community is in shock and the children are visibly upset over this senseless act of violence.” The Bella Bella Community school has been undergoing construction (rebuilding) for the past year and was nearing completion. The school houses grades kindergarten to grade 12 and has as many as 170 students and 56 staff members.
The investigation continues as police are currently viewing the school’s video surveillance system in hopes of identifying the person responsible. RCMP are asking anyone with information pertaining to this crime, to please contact the Bella Bella RCMP at (250) 957-2388.
The attack on the school occurred just weeks after a major fire on July 12 destroyed the local store and other businesses. RCMP confirmed earlier that the July 12 structure fire was set by three young girls ages 13, 15 and 16, all from the community who were arrested within hours of the initial fire.
RCMP and fire investigators will forward a report of their findings to the crown for their review, in order to determine whether charges against the girls are appropriate.