HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — Nine people were injured when gunfire erupted along a beachside promenade in Hollywood, Florida, sending people frantically running for cover along the crowded beach on Memorial Day.
The nine people hurt Monday evening included six adults and three children, according to Yanet Obarrio Sanchez, a spokesperson for Memorial Healthcare System. All of the victims were in stable condition, she said.
Police spokesperson Deanna Bettineschi said four children between the ages of 1 and 17 were hit, along with five adults between 25 and 65. One was in surgery late Monday while the others were stable, she said. It was not immediately clear if the hospital was counting a 17-year-old as an adult.
Several of the wounded were taken to a children’s hospital, Bettineschi said.
The shooting happened shortly before 7 p.m., Bettineschi said. A fight broke out, at least one gun was pulled and shots were fired. 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.
Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy said that he was “deeply saddened and angered” by the shooting. Dozens of officers are assigned to the beach on busy holiday weekends and that meant there was an immediate response and multiple people were detained, Levy said in a statement.
“People come to enjoy a holiday weekend on the beach with their families and to have people in complete reckless disregard of the safety of the public and to have an altercation with guns in a public setting with thousands of people around them is beyond reckless,” he said. “The Hollywood Police Department will leave no stone unturned. We do not appreciate when people come into our city with guns and have an altercation in the midst of a public setting here.”
The shooting happened on the Hollywood Oceanfront Broadwalk near a convenience store, a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream store and a Subway sandwich shop.
Alvie Carlton Scott III said he was on the beach when he suddenly heard numerous gunshots. He said he hid behind a tree and then fled the area after a police officer told people to run.
Jamie Ward, who was also on the promenade, said several young men were fighting in front of the stores when one pulled a gun and started shooting.
Videos posted on Twitter on Monday evening showed emergency medical crews responding and providing aid to multiple 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.
Hollywood Beach is a popular beach destination about 11 miles (17 kilometers) south of Fort Lauderdale and 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Miami. The beach was expected to see more visitors than usual because of the Memorial Day holiday.