Nine people were injured when gunfire erupted along a beachside promenade in Hollywood, Florida, sending people frantically running for cover along the crowded beach during the Memorial Day holiday in the United States.
Several of those wounded on Monday evening were taken to a children’s hospital, police spokesperson Deanna Bettineschi said.
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Bettineschi said four minors – aged between one and 17 – were hit, along with five adults between 25 and 65. One was in surgery late on Monday night while the others were stable, she said.
The shooting happened shortly before 7pm (23:00 GMT) when a fight broke out and at least one gun was pulled and shots were fired, Bettineschi said. At least one person was in custody, but police were looking for more suspects.
Police chief Chris O’Brien said thousands of people were in the area and dozens of police officers responded, including some who were nearby.
“It’s unfortunate we have law-abiding citizens who come to our beaches and that gets interrupted by a group of criminals,” he said.
Please avoid the area of Johnson to Garfield Streets, as well as the Broadwalk, due to an ongoing shooting investigation. Heavy police presence in the area. If you are looking to reunite with a family member, we have set up a reunification area at Johnson St and N Ocean bus loop
— HollywoodFL Police (@HollywoodFLPD) May 30, 2023
Videos posted on Twitter showed emergency medical crews responding and providing aid to injured people.
Police said there would be a heavy presence of officers as the investigation continues. Officials also set up an area for family members to reunite.
“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.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper quoted the mayor as saying: “Our beach has millions of beachgoers a year. It’s a very popular and beautiful destination. Ordinarily, it’s a peaceful beach.”
A popular beach destination, Hollywood was expecting to see more visitors than usual because of the Memorial Day holiday.