By SHERRI KOLADE
DEARBORN — Police Chief Ronald Haddad is pretty confident that his police officers found the suspects — four Edsel Ford High School students — who were alleged to have been involved with the burning and vandalizing of a Muslim community center and its garage in June.
But their legal fate has not been set because of conflicting reports, Haddad said.
The Dearborn Woods Community Center, 3250 Pelham Road, was discovered vandalized and its storage area set on fire and defaced by graffiti June 12. The nearby mosque, the American Muslim Center, 21110 Outer Drive, uses the community center for special functions and events.
Haddad said the suspects were not formally charged because not enough evidence was developed.
“But we are reasonably sure we found the right people involved,” Haddad said.
“Part of the problem in investigating the case is that there were conflicting accounts given by different people and they weren’t all at the same place at the same time,” Haddad said. “The (school staff) are pursuing the (students) based on behavioral problems and we are trying to keep all the students in school. But I am sure that they will be monitored and watched to make sure that nothing like this happens again.”
Haddad said the FBI — which also investigated the crime — told him the incident was not a hate crime.
Haddad added that the alleged suspects – between 16 and 18 years old — are all known by EFHS staff and are being monitored to prevent future transgressions.
Haddad added that witnesses allegedly saw the suspects, but not much more can be said about how they were discovered by police, he said.
“We take all these events very seriously and we want to make sure the public understands that and we are not going to tolerate it,” Haddad said. “People will be held accountable.”
(Sherri Kolade can be reached at [email protected].)