NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH)–The head of the now closed Martin Luther King Junior Community Center has a lot to clean up, after vandals ransacked the place.
He also had a tough decision whether or not to press charges because of who the suspects are.
At one time this center served many kids in this community. Now some of those same kids are accused of causing this vandalism. The golf clubs there did a lot of the damage.
Garfield Rucker never expected to see the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Norwich looking like that.
“Unbelievable I didn’t think kids would do this to their own community, to their own center,” said Rucker.
Even more unbelievable was who was accused of doing it. Police had rounded up several neighborhood kids, ten to fourteen year olds.
“That part all the windows, all the stuff on the windows,” said Rucker. “Some of them were members of the church.”
Given the choice of pressing charges or not, Rucker surprised himself by choosing the latter.
“I didn’t want the kids to go to jail for that,” said Rucker.
A lack of funds shut down the center more than a year and a half ago. At one time the room was filled with kids doing homework. They even offered classes for pregnant teens so they could later return to school. A dream started in 1967 in the spirit of its namesake.
“He died trying to get things improved for all black people and they come in and wreck the whole place. I can’t understand that,” said Rucker.
There is a lot of clean up there. It is actually still a very big mess. Rucker says he plays the lotto and if he wins it big he is going to put that money into the center to rebuild it but what the center really needs is a grant writer who can get funding for it.