LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Two juveniles have been charged in connection with hazardous material that was found on the Bliss Park playground in June.
According to the Hampden District Attorney’s Office Spokesperson Jim Leydon, a Hampden County Grand Jury returned indictments criminally charging two juveniles with four counts of each of assault and battery on a child with injury and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. They were also charged with vandalism. Due to their age, their identities cannot be released.
On June 11th, four children were injured, some having burn-like injuries after they left the park. The chemical was determined to be muriatic acid, which is a diluted solution of hydrochloric acid that was poured on three of the slides on the playground.
During the investigation, it was discovered that the pump room in the basement of the pool building had been broken into. Two of the fences were climbed over and a ventilation shaft was torn off. The suspects had gotten into the pool room through the ventilation shaft. The pool room contained the chemicals that were poured onto the slides.
Springfield parent, Justin Vaniderstine, telling 22News, “We take our kids here all the time. Its not something you want for your kid to happen to them. It’s one of those things that I can’t comprehend what I would do if my kid was hurt. It’s a nightmare situation.”
The Town of Longmeadow, along with MADEP, had a specialty contractor and an environmental engineering firm clean the play space and other materials and has since reopened.
Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni stated, “The Longmeadow Police and Fire Departments along with my office’s Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit did a remarkable job in investigating this shocking and terrible incident. I would like to thank Assistant District Attorney Curtis Frick, Juvenile Court Chief, for his committed and skilled work in bringing this case forward. Our collective effort to charge those we believe are responsible should make clear that protecting this community’s children is among our highest priorities. Whether the threat and harm caused were intended as pranks or malicious acts, it will not be tolerated.”
The investigation was conducted by the Longmeadow Police Department along with the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Hampden District Attorney’s Office.
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