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Police investigating bullet fired into St. Pete pre-school, no injuries reported

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Posted at 4:18 PM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-22 23:35:49-04

ST. PETERBURG, Fla. — St. Pete Police are investigating after they say someone shot into a classroom at a church pre-school on Thursday.

Police say no children or adults were injured in the shooting, which happened at Allendale United Methodist Church. At least one bullet got inside the classroom, according to police.

Authorities were notified shortly after 3 p.m., according to a press release.

Police say 11 2-year-old children were in the classroom where the shooting happened. They say 44 children in total attend the school.

Police say the investigation is active, but the shooting appears to be random.

"Our number job, of course, is to keep children safe and thankfully no one was hurt today and we're going to even better to keep our children safe here."

Allendale Methodist released this statement on Facebook.

This afternoon around 3 pm, what police say appears to be a stray bullet came through one of our preschool classrooms. Thankfully, no children, teachers, or staff were injured.

Our teachers immediately took the children to the chapel, locked down the campus, and called police. Officers arrived shortly after the incident and are now conducting their investigation. At this point, we don't have any information from the police on where the bullet came from but they do assure us that there is no ongoing risk. Given that the bullet fell just inside the window, it appears to have been fired at a great distance, and not be a targeted shooting, according to the police.

All of our parents have been notified and are coming to pick up their children now. The school will be closed tomorrow. Out of an abundance of caution, the St. Petersburg Police will be providing additional patrol and security.

We are extremely grateful that no one was injured and appreciate the fast action of our teachers, staff and the St. Pete Police to keep everyone safe.

Allendale UMC has been targeted in the past for acts of vandalism. The progressive church broke away from traditional restrictions by offering to marry same-sex couples. It also has been outspoken about taking a stand against the National Rifle Association.

While Thursday's shooting scare is under investigation, detectives and church leaders are looking into the potential this was intentional.

"We stand with communities where they face this type of violence every single day of their lives," said Rev. Oliver. "Especially people of color and people in the Muslim community and Jewish communities that walk around with targets on them."