By TERRY SPENCER from the Associated Press
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — Police launched a search Tuesday for three suspects they believe to be the gunmen who opened fire along a crowded Florida beachside promenade on Memorial Day, wounding a 1-year-old and eight others while sending people frantically running for cover.
Hollywood police sought the public’s help in identifying the gunmen, who ran from the scene during the chaos of hundreds of people fleeing for their lives and diving for cover as shots hit bystanders.
Two people involved in the altercation that led to the shooting have been arrested on firearms charges, police said. Five handguns have been recovered, with one of them reported stolen in the Miami area and another in Texas, they said.
Police and witnesses said the shooting began as a group of people fought in front of a busy stretch of shops on the Hollywood Oceanfront Broadwalk about 7 p.m. Monday.
The sound of gunshots sent witness Alvie Carlton Scott III ducking for cover behind a tree before he fled on foot at the command of a police officer. Another witness, Jamie Ward, said several young men were fighting when one of them pulled a gun and started firing.
The shooting upended busy holiday weekend festivities at the popular beach destination where there was already a heavy police presence to oversee the big crowds.
Police spokesperson Deanna Bettineschi said four children between the ages of 1 and 17 were hit, along with five adults between 25 and 65. Six of those shot remain hospitalized in stable condition, while three have been released, police said.
The names of those arrested and those wounded have not been released.
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.
Videos posted Monday evening on Twitter showed emergency medical crews responding and providing aid to multiple injured people.
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.