Police: 8 people shot, 1 critical at Florida Martin Luther King Jr. Day event
‘Mass chaos’ when two groups in dispute open fire on each other in crowd of 1,000 attending gathering in Fort Pierce
FORT PIERCE, Florida — Police in Florida said eight people were shot Monday during an MLK Jr. Day event, with one of the victims listed in critical condition.
The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office confirmed all the victims in the early evening shooting in Fort Pierce were adults, WPBF-TV reported.
The shooting occurred at Ilous Ellis Park at 5:20 p.m. during an MLK Car Show and Family Fun Day, which the sheriff’s office said was attended by more than 1,000 people, WPBF-TV reported.
“Multiple people were shot, it sounds like from our initial investigation here on scene there was a disagreement of some sort between two parties, and unfortunately, they chose to resolve that with guns,” St. Lucie County Chief Deputy Brian Hester said.
Police said four people including a child sustained non-life-threatening injuries during the ensuing confusion, the station reported.
“It was mass chaos, as you can imagine, when shots rang out,” Hester said. “There were a thousand plus people here at the event, and as the shots rang out, people were just running in all directions.”
The sheriff’s office said two deputies at the event responded immediately and aided victims, WPBF-TV reported.
Video obtained by the station showed people ducking, running and hiding behind cars, including a woman running to safety while holding a baby.
“It’s really sad in a celebration of someone who represented peace and equality that a disagreement results in a use of guns and violence to solve that disagreement, and that’s what’s really sad to me about what happened here,” Hester said. “And then so many innocent people who were injured or hurt and were not part of the disagreement as well.”