UPDATE: Westview community focuses on positive after break-in - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Westview community focuses on positive after break-in

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Westview Elementary will have a "Circle of Support" tonight. Westview Elementary will have a "Circle of Support" tonight.
One of the classrooms at Westview Tuesday showed some of the damage. Photo by Dan Kennedy/WRCBtv.com One of the classrooms at Westview Tuesday showed some of the damage. Photo by Dan Kennedy/WRCBtv.com
One of several classrooms at Westview that sustained damage. Photo by Dan Kennedy/WRCBtv.com One of several classrooms at Westview that sustained damage. Photo by Dan Kennedy/WRCBtv.com
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - UPDATE: It was the first day back to school for folks at Westview Elementary School.

Many parents and teachers will tell you, Tuesday’s break-in shook the sense of security throughout the community.

But these folks are choosing to focus on the positive as they stand together to show the bond as Westview is stronger than ever.

“We’re friends and family anyway, so it’s just like getting together with your family and showing support for each other,” Whitney Webb said.

Rather than cower in fear, this community is choosing to look at the positive and overcome the physical and emotional damage left from Tuesday’s break-in.

“I think it’s a good opportunity to reevaluate what security measures are already in place, where we do have some vulnerabilities still and improve on those,” parent Angela Gross said.

Vicki Boring works as the Technology Coordinator at Westview and sees the situation as a blessing.

“Honestly, it could have been so much worse. We feel very, very blessed that no one was here. He did kind of a pick and choose of what he wanted to damage and what he didn’t so there were so many more things that could have been done,” she added.

Webb is a Westview PTO board member and says the support from throughout the community has been overwhelming.

North American Credit Services, a Chattanooga business that employs a lot of Westview parents, donated $10,000 to the school to help with rebuilding.

“The outpouring of love and the outpouring of people wanting to help whether they want to come out and physically do things or give money, it just showed how much people wanted to help and wanted to do things,” Webb added.

Thursday, these kids and teachers will start a new day and put what happened behind them to focus on a brighter future.

Donations can be made to Westview PTO.

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As students and teachers returned to class Wednesday, new details have emerged about the suspect charged in the vandalism at Westview Elementary.

Twenty-two year-old Aaron Roden has had more than several brushes with law enforcement since 2010. He's currently at Erlanger, under guard, for "an unknown medical condition." The sheriff's department said he's "communicating" but also "combative."

Roden's father is Michael Roden, an Assistant U.S. Attorney at U. S. Department of Justice, where his Facebook profile says he's worked since 1990.

Sheriff Jim Hammond said his detectives believe Roden is the only suspectbut their investigation continues.

The maintenance department also continues its work at the school. A few rooms are still trashed and classes in those rooms have been moved temporarily.

Guidance counselors are available for students and the school held an assembly Wednesday morning to answer any questions.

There will be a "Circle of Support" Wednesday night at 6 p.m. at the school and anyone is invited.

North American Credit Services has made a $10,000 donation to help with the school's cleanup and repair.


UPDATE: A Hamilton County elementary school is picking up the pieces after a vandal broke in and caused extensive damage.

Deputies responded to a burglary alarm at 5:00 Tuesday morning at Westview Elementary School.

That's where they found Aaron Roden. Police say the 22 year old broke several windows, doors and lights, causing thousands of dollars in damages.

School officials were forced to cancel classes for the day. Classes will resume as scheduled on Wednesday.

Deputies say it took Aaron Roden just 10 minutes to trash Westview Elementary School.

“The time that he was in the school, he was able to do a lot of damage,” Hamilton County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Janice Atkinson said.

But workers spent hours cleaning up after the rampage that cost upwards of $60,000.

“Our job right now is to make sure we have a safe environment for our students and faculty and staff here at Westview,” Hamilton County Superintendent Rick Smith said.

Workers spent Tuesday replacing several windows and cleaning up glass all to make sure the building is safe for students to return on Wednesday.

“He did extensive property damage inside the school and that's the vandalism,” Atkinson added.

Smith wants parents and students to know there will be signs of vandalism when they return.

“We've had ceiling tiles taken down and a couple of lights taken down and some classroom areas vandalized. The cleanup part, I think, we can take care of pretty quickly, but there are going to be some things that will take a little longer to deal with,” Smith added.

Investigators are still trying to answer a lot of questions surrounding this case, like a possible motive and why Roden picked Westview as his target?

“Often times these things happen for a variety of reason. This one looks like a random incident in my opinion. I'm sure the investigators will determine if it is or not,” Smith said.

For now, Roden sits under guard at Erlanger Medical Center an unknown medical condition.

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UPDATE: The Westview Elementary School will their resume normal class schedule for Wednesday.


UPDATE: The suspect, now in custody, Aaron Roden was arrested last week on an aggravated assault charge.

Deputies arrested him August 4 after he allegedly cut another man with a knife.

According to an arrest affidavit, Roden cut the man “in the neck area under his chin” over an argument about a girl. He bonded out of jail on a $40,000 bond.

In the school vandalism incident, Roden has been charged with burglary, two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer and vandalism over $60,000.

The charges are not Roden's first, nor second brush with law enforcement.

Channel 3 has learned that Roden has faced a string of charges from various incidents over the last 4 years:





  • July 12, 2012 - WCSO - escape, probation violation, failure to appear, DUI
  • June 28, 2012 - WCSO - probation violation
  • June 10, 2012 - WCSO - DUI, underage consumption of alcohol
  • Dec 1, 2011 - WCSO - probation violation, identity theft, fraudulent use of credit cards
  • Nov 22, 2011 - Franklin PD - ID theft, fraudulent use of credit cards
  • July 24, 2011 - Franklin PD - unauthorized use of vehicle, probation violation, possession of marijuana
  • June 5, 2011 - Franklin PD - vandalism
  • Feb 14, 2011 - WCSO - resisting stop, arrest
  • Nov 3, 2010 - WCSO - contempt of court

UPDATE: Rick Smith, Hamilton County Department of Education Superintendent surveyed the damage at the school Tuesday morning.

Smith said “It's really heartbreaking to see the kind of damage that's been caused today. Right now I'm trying to have a school to open for students and teachers if possible tomorrow."






PREVIOUS STORY: Westview Elementary School is closed this morning after a break-in was reported, according to Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies were called at 5 a.m. to the school located at 9629 E. Brainerd Road, according to dispatchers.

Janice Atkinson, public information officer, said there was "extensive property damage" inside the school. Officials say the suspect Aaron Roden, 22, of Franklin, caused $60,000 in damages breaking windows, doors and lights.

Deputies arrived on the scene 10 minutes after the alarm went off. 

Deputies say Roden put up a fight when he was arrested. He's charged with burglary, aggravated assault, and vandalism over $60,000.

Atkinson told Channel 3 that "The suspect was extremely violent towards law enforcement and it took some work to get him in custody."

Classes are canceled for the day. Superintendent Rick Smith is hopeful classes will resume tomorrow.

Stay with Channel 3 Eyewitness News for more details.










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