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Nine people, including three children, were injured when gunfire erupted between two groups in the midst of beachgoers in Florida on Memorial Day.
Police and health care officials said six adults and three children sustained injuries during the shooting, which unfolded along the Hollywood Oceanfront Boardwalk on Johnson Street between two men.
Hollywood Beach, located approximately 11 miles south of Fort Lauderdale and 20 miles north of Miami, is a well-known and popular beach destination and was anticipated to attract a high number of visitors with the Memorial Day holiday.
Deanna Bettineschi, a spokesperson for the Hollywood Police Department, revealed to reporters on the scene that several of the victims were transported to Memorial Regional Hospital and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital for treatment. However, the ages of the victims have not been disclosed by the authorities at this time.
Yanet Obarrio Sanchez, a spokesperson for Memorial, told Politico all victims were reported to be in stable condition.
Bettineschi said the preliminary findings from the investigation indicate that a confrontation between two groups escalated into gunfire.
Police have taken one person into custody in relation to the shooting while an active search is underway for a second individual. The second suspect was described as a black male with dreads, wearing a black short-sleeved shirt, and camo shorts.
Immediate footage captured in the aftermath of the incident and shared on social media showcased medics and police officers tending to the wounded victims, some of whom lay motionless on the sand.
The shooting occurred at approximately 6:42 p.m. on the boardwalk near a convenience store, a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop, and a Subway sandwich restaurant.
Eyewitness Alvie Carlton Scott III recounted that he was present on the beach when he suddenly heard multiple gunshots, Politico reported. Seeking shelter behind a tree, he eventually fled the area after receiving instructions from a police officer to run.
Jamie Ward, another witness who was also present on the boardwalk, told the outlet that a group of young men engaged in a physical altercation in front of the stores, leading to one individual brandishing a firearm and initiating the shooting.
In response to the incident, law enforcement authorities have announced a significant deployment of officers to maintain a strong presence during the ongoing investigation. The purpose of this heightened presence is to ensure public safety and assist in the swift resolution of the case.
Additionally, officials are making arrangements to establish a designated area where family members can reunite. This measure aims to provide support and assistance to those affected by the incident, allowing them to locate and reconnect with their loved ones in a secure and organized manner.
“Thank you to the Good Samaritans, paramedics, police and emergency room doctors and nurses for their immediate response to aid the victims of today’s shooting,” Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy said in a statement.