Florida boardwalk turns violent as gunfire erupts between two groups
Memorial Day festivities on a crowded Florida boardwalk were interrupted abruptly when at least nine people, including three minors, were injured in a shooting.
The incident, which took place on the Hollywood Beach boardwalk north of Miami, reportedly stemmed from a confrontation between two groups. Among the victims was a 1-year-old child, as reported by the Daily Mail.
The altercation escalated into gunfire around 6:45 p.m. Monday on the 1200 block of the North Boardwalk. One suspect is in custody, while law enforcement is pursuing another suspect who remains at large.
Hollywood police have stated that they seized five handguns from the scene, two of which were identified as stolen, CNN reported.
In a statement, Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy said, "We will deploy all resources at our disposal to bring those accountable for these injuries to justice."
Chaos and Panic Captured on Video
Chaos ensued after the gunshots. An online video shows the harrowing moment, illustrating people scrambling for safety and fleeing from the bustling hotspot near the Margaritaville resort. The footage vividly depicts a peaceful celebration suddenly thrust into terror and chaos.
Additional video footage from the scene showed emergency services treating victims scattered across the sandy beachfront.
Nine people were rushed to local hospitals after the incident, and their conditions have yet to be clarified. At least one person was reported to be in surgery Monday night.
Mayor Levy spoke with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, confirming that paramedics were on the scene and several victims had been transported to the hospital.
"It seemed like people might have gotten caught in the crossfire. But I can't verify that," Levy said.
He later expressed gratitude on Twitter for the swift response from good Samaritans, paramedics, police, and emergency room doctors and nurses.
Incident Classified as Mass Casualty
The victims' ages range from 1 to 65. While there were no reported deaths, the shooting's extent led authorities to categorize the incident as a mass casualty event.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, the shooting amidst Memorial Day weekend celebrations marked one of at least 262 mass shootings in the U.S. this year.
The Archive defines a mass shooting as an incident where at least four individuals, not including the shooter, are shot.
Police Maintain a Heavy Presence and Seek Public Assistance
In the aftermath of the shooting, local authorities announced they would maintain a strong police presence at the scene while investigations continue.
They are actively seeking public assistance in locating the second suspect, described as a Black male with dreadlocks, last seen wearing a black short-sleeved shirt and camouflage shorts.
The Hollywood Beach area, a popular destination over the three-day weekend, experienced a surge in visitors. Located 11 miles south of Fort Lauderdale and 20 miles north of Miami, it's a hotspot for residents and tourists.