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Atlanta project decried as ‘Cop City’ gets funding approval from City Council

By R.J. RICO from the Associated Press

TLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta City Council early Tuesday approved funding for the construction of a proposed police and firefighter training center, rejecting the pleas of hundreds of activists who packed City Hall and spoke for hours in fierce opposition to the project they decry as “Cop City.”

Protestors gather in the atrium of Atlanta City Hall to protest the proposed police training center on Monday, June 5, 2023. (Natrice Miller/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

The 11-4 vote just after 5 a.m. is a significant victory for Mayor Andre Dickens, who has made the $90 million project a large part of his first term in office, despite pushback to the effort. The City Council also passed a resolution requesting two seats on the Atlanta Police Foundation’s board.

In a statement, Dickens said the passage of the budget resolution “marks a major milestone for better preparing our fire, police and emergency responders to protect and serve our communities.”

“Atlanta will be a national model for police reform with the most progressive training and curriculum in the country,” he said.

The decentralized “Stop Cop City” movement has galvanized protesters from across the country, especially in the wake of the January fatal police shooting of Manuel Paez Terán, a 26-year-old environmental activist known as “Tortuguita” who had been camping in the woods near the site of the proposed project in DeKalb County.

For about 14 hours, residents again and again took to the podium to slam the project, saying it would be a gross misuse of public funds to build the huge facility in a large urban forest in a poor, majority-Black area.

“We’re here pleading our case to a government that has been unresponsive, if not hostile, to an unprecedented movement in our City Council’s history,” said Matthew Johnson, the executive director of Beloved Community Ministries, a local social justice nonprofit. “We’re here to stop environmental racism and the militarization of the police. … We need to go back to meeting the basic needs rather than using police as the sole solution to all of our social problems.”

The training center was approved by the City Council in September 2021 but required an additional vote for more funding. City officials say the new 85-acre (34-hectare) campus would replace inadequate training facilities and would help address difficulties in hiring and retaining police officers that worsened after nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice three years ago.

But opponents, who have been joined by activists from around the country, say they fear it will lead to greater militarization of the police and that its construction will exacerbate environmental damage. Protesters had been camping at the site since at least last year, and police said they had caused damage and attacked law enforcement officers and others.

Though more than 220 people spoke publicly against the training center, a small handful voiced support, saying they trusted Dickens’ judgment.

Council members agreed to approve $31 million in public funds for the site’s construction, as well as a provision that requires the city to pay $36 million — $1.2 million a year over 30 years — for using the facility. The rest of the $90 million project would come from private donations to the Atlanta Police Foundation, though city officials had, until recently, repeatedly said the public obligation would only be $31 million.

The highly scrutinized vote occurred in the wake of the arrests Wednesday of three organizers who lead the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, which has provided bail money and helped to find attorneys for arrested protesters.

Prosecutors have accused the three activists of money laundering and charity fraud, saying they used some of the money to fund violent acts of “forest defenders.” Warrants cite reimbursements for expenses including “gasoline, forest clean-up, totes, covid rapid tests, media, yard signs.” But the charges have alarmed human rights groups and prompted both of Georgia’s Democratic senators to issue statements expressing their concerns.

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock tweeted that bail funds held important roles during the Civil Rights Movement and said the images of the heavily armed police officers raiding the home where the activists lived “reinforce the very suspicions that help to animate the current conflict — namely, concerns Georgians have about over-policing, the quelling of dissent in a democracy, and the militarization of our police.”

Devin Franklin, an attorney with the Southern Center For Human Rights, also invoked Wednesday’s arrests while speaking before the City Council.

“This is what we fear — the image of militarized forces being used to effectuate arrests for bookkeeping errors,” Franklin said.

Numerous instances of violence and vandalism have been linked to the decentralized “Stop Cop City” movement, including a January protest in downtown Atlanta in which a police car was set alight, as well as a March attack in which more than 150 masked protesters chased off police at the construction site and torched construction equipment before fleeing and blending in with a crowd at a nearby music festival. Those two instances have led to more than 40 people being charged with domestic terrorism, though prosecutors have had difficulty so far in proving that many of those arrested were in fact those who took part in the violence.

In a sign of the security concerns Monday, dozens of police officers were posted throughout City Hall and officials temporarily added “liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes” to the list of things prohibited inside the building.

In a statement Tuesday after voting against the facility, council member Keisha Sean Waites said $67 million in taxpayer funds could be better spent elsewhere, including on “affordable housing, resources for the homeless and unsheltered, infrastructure improvements, mental health services, health care for the uninsured, rental and mortgage assistance, including providing housing and salary increasing for our first responders and law enforcement officers.

“These resources directly impact the root causes of crime, which policing does not,” Waites said.

UK police motorcyclist under criminal investigation over royal escort crash

From the Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — A British police motorcyclist faced a criminal investigation Tuesday over the death of a woman who was struck in a collision with the officer’s vehicle, which was escorting Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh, at the time.

FILE – Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh speaks with guests during a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, London, Wednesday May 3, 2023, in celebration of the coronation of King Charles III on May 6. The Duchess of Edinburgh expressed her condolences Wednesday, May 24, 2023 after the death of an 81-year-old woman who was hit by a motorcycle that was part of the UK royal’s police escort. Sophie, the wife of Prince Edward, expressed her sympathies for the death of Helen Holland, who was struck at a west London intersection May 10. (Yui Mok/Pool via AP, File)

Helen Holland, 81, was hit in west London on May 10. She suffered serious injuries and died two weeks later.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct said the constable was told a criminal investigation was underway for causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving.

The officer is also being investigated for potential gross misconduct.

Following the crash, Holland’s son Martin told the BBC she died after sustaining “multiple broken bones and massive internal injuries.” He said she was using a pedestrian crossing when she was struck by the motorcycle.

Sophie, who is the wife of Prince Edward, King Charles III’s younger brother, has said she was “deeply saddened” that Holland died.

Arson investigation underway after fire burns Los Angeles church for second time in 2 years

From the Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An arson investigation was under way Sunday after fire damaged a nearly 100-year-old Los Angeles church for the second time in less than two years, authorities.

Flames broke out shorty before 7 p.m. Saturday in the sanctuary of St. John’s United Methodist Church and spread into a balcony, the Los Angeles Fire Department said in a statement.

More than 30 firefighters took about 20 minutes to extinguish the blaze at the two-story church in the Watts neighborhood, the statement said. No injuries were reported.

The blaze occurred as St. John’s was undergoing renovations from another fire that caused major damage in February 2022, the Los Angeles Times reported.

After the earlier fire, worshippers moved services to the parking lot, where they were still being held as of this weekend, the Times said.

The church, built in the Spanish Colonial style with a red-tile roof and beige exterior, is celebrating 97 years of ministry in the Watts community south of downtown LA, according to its Facebook page.

U.S. Conference of Mayors Announces Winners of 2023 Police Reform and Equitable Justice Grants

U.S. Conference of Mayors. (PRNewsFoto/U.S. Conference of Mayors) (PRNewsfoto/U.S. Conference of Mayors)

Program Supported by Target Recognizes Arlington (TX), Lansing (MI), and Huntington (WV)

COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 4, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Target announced the winners of this year’s Police Reform and Equitable Justice Grant Program designed to identify, promote, and support police policies and practices that cities of all sizes are finding to be most effective in advancing the goal of justice for all residents. In the third year of this competitive grant program, judges named one winner in the program’s large (over 300,000), mid-sized (100,000 – 300,000) and small (under 100,000) population categories.

The three winning cities share in a total of $350,000 in grant funds. Grant winners this year are:

  • Arlington (TX), for its GameUP 5-0 program that strengthens police relationships with targeted youth by engaging them in video games and by bringing the games into their communities.
  • Lansing (MI), for its Mikey23 Program in which police officers engage targeted youth in hands-on skill-building through rehabilitation of distressed houses in the community.
  • Huntington (WV), for its Crisis Intervention Team that pairs mental health providers with police officers to respond to mental health/co-occurring substance use crises.
  • Three additional cities, one in each population category, also were recognized by the program’s judges as honorable mentions:
  • Anaheim (CA), for its Homeless Assessment Liaison Officer (HALO) team that coordinates with and supports other homeless outreach teams where mental health experts would be beneficial.
  • Charleston (SC), where the police department is voluntarily implementing a comprehensive racial bias audit that is substantially changing policies, practices, training, and data collection capacities.
  • Trenton (NJ), for its Resilience Increases Success & Excellence (RISE) program with eight components providing at-risk youth with a wide range of career and personal development experiences.

“At Target, we place an emphasis on creating a culture of caring, growing, and thriving together, which can be seen throughout our business and in the way we invest in the communities we serve. Mayors play a critical role in creating strong, safe, and sustainable communities across America and we value our partnership with each and every one of you. Together, we will continue to advance a more just and prosperous society. We are proud to sponsor the USCM and Target Police Reform and Equitable Justice grant awards and congratulate the winning cities,” said Isaac Reyes, SVP Enterprise Risk & Government Affairs for Target Corporation.

“We commend these mayors and cities, and we thank Target for making possible these local-led programs that will improve justice and strengthen trust between communities and their law enforcement,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “Our hope is that by supporting and promoting these programs, we can connect mayors with information on the approaches to police reform being taken or planned by their colleagues throughout the United States.”

“We are thrilled to be the recipient of the Police Reform and Equitable Justice Grant. I truly believe Arlington has one of the best police departments in the country, due in large part to the way our officers dedicate themselves to community policing. Game Up 5-0 is a unique and creative way to bridge the gap between our youth and our officers and will help to build camaraderie and trust. This funding will help us grow this outstanding program which, in turn, will help make our community safer and more inclusive,” said Arlington (TX) Mayor Jim Ross.

“The Mikey 23 Foundation is such an awesome asset to our community that involves officers from the Lansing Police Department working alongside the youth,” said Lansing (MI) Mayor Andy Schor. “The program teaches participants important skilled trades in a positive environment from professionals who also serve in a mentoring role. It also helps to support families who have been directly impacted by gun violence. I’m beyond thrilled that this deserving foundation was one of just a few chosen to be awarded this grant,” said Lansing (MI) Mayor Andy Schor.

“Our Crisis Intervention Team enables our police officers, working alongside mental health workers, to provide individuals suffering from a mental health crisis multiple paths to services as opposed to arresting them. People must still be accountable for criminal violations, but these avenues to receive treatment create compassionate accountability,” said Huntington (WV) Mayor Stephen T. Williams.

Summary descriptions of the winning programs are below and online, where you will also soon find descriptions of all other programs submitted to the program by cities this year.

Learn more about the partnership between Target and USCM, and the Police Reform and Equitable Justice Grant program, in the program’s original announcement here.

Police Reform and Racial Justice Grant Winners

  • Large City Award: Arlington, TX – GameUp 5-0 Mobilization

Expanding on a successful youth mentoring model created in 2015 following the murder of a high school football player, the Arlington Police Department (APD) introduced GameUp 5-0 that targets a segment of the youth population that does not play traditional sports. Its goals include strengthening relationships with youth and the community through video games and humanizing the police badge. In 2018, the City of Arlington opened an Esports Stadium as a pioneering venue for large-scale esports productions and events, and for community-building. In 2021, APD partnered with the Arlington Independent School District to host a GameUp 5-0 esports tournament at the complex, an event involving about 100 local students and more than 30 officers. The event offered officers an opportunity to mentor youth on cyberbullying, stress relief, safe places/environments, and scholarship opportunities. Given the range of serious threats posed by cyberbullying, a goal is to make youth aware of risks and the need to take steps to protect themselves and others. In recent years, gaming trucks have become increasingly popular. Mobile gaming units are easily transported to any location, making them a convenient choice for GameUp 5-0 mobile events. Through these trucks, the program is reaching into Operation Connect zones, areas of the city in which a high percentage of juvenile offenses occur, particularly in summer months.

  • Mid-Size City Award: Lansing, MI – The Mikey23 Program
    The Mikey23 non-profit was started in 2014, just months after the founder, Michael McKissic Sr., lost his son Michael to gun violence. A second-generation construction contractor and lifelong Lansing resident, his aim was to take the youth in the area out of a potentially negative environment and engage them in construction projects. Currently, the program engages young men and women in the rehabilitation of distressed houses. Police officers work alongside the youth; positive interactions with them are aimed at building the community’s trust of the police. The increase in firearms crimes among juveniles over the past two years – caseloads for the Police Department’s investigators have doubled – underscores the current need for a program that teaches young people a skilled trade in a positive environment. New members can join at the age of 12. The program supplies safety equipment and tools. At the end of a program year, some members are elevated to the next age group and some start apprenticeship programs. During the past year the program had 24 participants, mostly male, across its age groups. Most are drawn from the underrepresented communities most impacted by gun violence. The program has earned community support and positive evaluations by researchers. It operates as a nonprofit foundation and relies on donations to fund its programming.
  • Small City Award: Huntington, WV – Crisis Intervention Team
    The Huntington Police Department has adopted a strategic Community Policing model that deploys proactive strategies in the fight against crime. Engaged in the SMART Policing initiative and Police-Mental-Health-Collaboration, the Department developed its own Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) in September 2022. The purpose of the CIT is to handle active mental health crises in the community that cannot be solved by other mental health programs such as crisis phone numbers. West Virginia leads the nation in overdoses per capita, with Cabell County (Huntington) experiencing the second highest number of overdoses in the State. The CIT, a part of the Department’s new Coordinated Care Unit that will focus solely on mental health needs within the community, pairs mental health providers with law enforcement officers to respond to mental health/co-occurring substance use disorder crises. In addition to the Police Department’s Mental Health Liaison and CIT officers, the project currently utilizes partners from the City of Huntington (Mayor’s Council on Drug Control Policy) and mental health providers in the community. In most instances the Cabell County 911 dispatcher informs the HPD shift supervisor of incoming calls and a decision to dispatch the CIT is made after ensuring the scene is clear. Calls can also come from sources such as 311, from within the Department, and from community partners and stakeholders. Substance use and mental illness are leading causes of homelessness, and the city has recently experienced an influx of unsheltered individuals that continuously fall through the gaps in the continuum of care. The project will provide resources for those unsheltered or unstably housed, those suffering mental health and/or SUD crises, and others at risk of continuous interactions with the criminal justice system.

About the United States Conference of Mayors — The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are more than 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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In Denmark, potatoes on key bridge cause havoc

From the Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A 57-year-old truck driver was detained Thursday after loads of potatoes were found spilled on a key bridge linking two Danish islands, police have said. The driver was held on suspicion of causing reckless endangerment to life.

Potatoes are seen scattered across the carriageway on the western part of the Great Belt Bridge, Denmark, Thursday, June 1, 2023. A 57-year-old truck driver was Thursday detained after loads of potatoes have found on the key bridge linking two Danish islands, police said, adding the man was suspected of recklessly causes imminent danger to others. A first spill was reported in the westward direction on the Storebaelt bridge at 6.35 a.m., police spokesman Kenneth Taanquist said, adding a similar incident happened shortly after in the opposite direction. ( Scanpix via AP)

A first spill was reported on the westbound side of the Storebaelt bridge at 6.35 a.m. (0435 GMT), police spokesman Kenneth Taanquist said. The bridge connects the island where the capital, Copenhagen, is located to the rest of Denmark.

A similar incident happened on the eastbound side a short time later, Tanquist added.

”It looks weird,” he said. “We are working on two hypotheses: it is either an accident or it is something that has been done deliberately.”

Police said the roads had become slippery and urged drivers to drive slowly. According to the Danish Road Directorate, lines of vehicles were reported on either side of the roughly 18-kilometer (11 .2 miles) bridge and tunnel link between the islands of Funen, where Odense — Denmark’s third largest city — is located, and Zealand, where Copenhagen sits.

A third incident of potatoes on the road was reported near the town of Kolding on the Jutland peninsula. Kolding is near the Storebaelt bridge.

Danish public broadcaster DR noted that the potato spills occurred on the same day as the Danish parliament passed a law to tax diesel trucks transporting heavy loads.

The new measure has drawn protests from truck drivers. In recent weeks, they peacefully blocked highways and main roads throughout the country, claiming the tax will make their livelihoods unsustainable. A majority in the Danish parliament argue it is vital as the continued use of gas and diesel-fueled trucks is environmentally unsustainable.

As of 2025, the drivers of gas and diesel-fueled vehicles over 3.5 tons (7, 716 pounds) will be taxed 1.3 kroner ($0.19) per kilometer driven (half a mile).

Torben Dyhl Hjorth, a spokesman for the protesting truckers, said on Facebook that they “strongly distance themselves from today’s ‘stunts’.” He added that they plan protest at a later stage which ”can be felt but without risk to people’s lives and well-being.”

Suspect in Nashville police shooting dies in hospital, officer recovering

From the Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A man who was shot after wounding an officer in Tennessee has died at a hospital, authorities said.

The officer, Metro Nashville Police Detective Donovan Coble, 33, was expected to recover after being shot in his side Thursday while pursuing an armed auto burglary suspect, the department said in a statement. The suspect, Delama Casimir, 37, of Pompano Beach, Florida, died hours later after surgery, police said Thursday night.

Officers initially responded to a call from The Parking Spot, a parking area near the airport for travelers, which reported an armed man breaking into cars, police said.

Authorities said that when officers encountered Casimir, they ordered him to stop, but he ran through the lot and jumped over a wooden fence with Coble following and ordering him to stop. During the foot pursuit, Casimir pointed a pistol over his shoulder and fired at the officer, who was seriously wounded but returned fire, police said.

After Coble was shot, a fellow officer took him to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and police began searching again for Casimir, who went down in heavy brush, police said.

During the search, SWAT Officer Tim Brewer found Casimir in the brush and ordered him to show his hands. Brewer perceived a gunshot and fired on Casimir, police said. Casimir also was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, but later died.

Coble has served with the Metro Nashville Police Department for four years, while Brewer is a 16-year veteran of the agency.

Retired Phoenix police officer in landmark Miranda rights case dies at 87

By ANITA SNOW from the Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) — Retired Phoenix Police Capt. Carroll Cooley, the arresting officer in the landmark case partially responsible for the Supreme Court’s Miranda rights ruling that requires suspects be read their rights, has died, the department confirmed Friday. He was 87.

FILE – Retired Phoenix Police Capt. Carroll Cooley demonstrates Wednesday, March 13, 2013, at the Phoenix Police Museum in Phoenix, how Ernesto Miranda was fingerprinted on the same fingerprinting device used on Miranda. Cooley, the arresting officer in the landmark self-incrimination case that led in part to the Supreme Court’s Miranda rights ruling requiring officers to read suspects their rights, died on Monday, May 29, after an unspecified illness, the department confirmed Friday, June 2, 2023. He was 87. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

Phoenix police said in a brief statement that Cooley died on May 29 after an unspecified illness. The location and exact cause of his death were not immediately available, nor was information about services or survivors.

Cooley joined the Phoenix department in 1958 and retired two decades later.

On March 13, 1963, Cooley arrested Ernesto Miranda in the kidnap and rape of an 18-year-old Phoenix woman. Miranda was eventually convicted based on his handwritten confession and sentenced to 20-30 years in prison.

Miranda appealed, and the case eventually went up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which issued a 1966 ruling overturning the conviction, saying that suspects should be advised of their constitutional rights against self-incrimination and to an attorney before questioning.

That decision, along with three other similar cases that were bundled together, led to the so-called “Miranda rights” or “Miranda warning,” which is familiar to anyone who has watched a police procedural drama on television.

“You have the right to remain silent,” it begins. “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

“You have the right to speak to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you,” it continues.

After the Supreme Court overturned his conviction, Miranda remained in jail on another conviction and was convicted again of raping and kidnapping the 18-year-old. Prosecutors at the second trial didn’t use the confession and instead relied on testimony from a woman who was close to Miranda.

After he was paroled, Miranda was fatally stabbed in February 1976 in a dispute during a card game at a downtown Phoenix bar.

During his career with Phoenix police, Cooley worked in the city’s Maryvale precinct, the general investigations bureau, and the police academy. He rose to become captain, a rank the department said is equivalent to commander today.

After retiring from the police department in December 1978, Cooley went on to work for the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

He also volunteered at the Phoenix Police Museum, where in 2013 he recounted his story before a 50th anniversary display about the Miranda arrest.

Texas firefighter stabbed while fighting blazes along interstate

From the Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas firefighter was stabbed in the thigh early Monday morning by a man accused of starting the multiple fires firefighters were putting out along Interstate 35 in Austin, authorities said.

Austin Fire Department shift commander Eddie Martinez told the Austin American-Statesman that the firefighter’s injuries weren’t life-threatening.

Martinez said the man accused of starting the fires had walked onto the interstate, and as firefighters tried to remove him from the roadway, he became agitated and stabbed the firefighter.

The fire department said on Twitter that the injured firefighter was treated at a hospital and released and that now “he’s home and doing ok.”

Fire officials say the suspect was arrested on the scene.

Authorities did not immediately say what object the firefighter was stabbed with.

Lanes on Interstate 35 near the incident were closed for a time but had reopened by 5:45 a.m.

Thousands evacuate from Nova Scotia wildfires

From the Associated Press

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) — Wildfires in Canada’s Atlantic coast province of Nova Scotia have caused thousands to evacuate.

Thick plumes of heavy smoke fill the Halifax sky as an out-of-control fire in a suburban community quickly spread, engulfing multiple homes and forcing the evacuation of local residents, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Sunday May 28, 2023. (Kelly Clark/The Canadian Press via AP)

The Halifax Regional Municipality said late Monday that preliminary estimates indicate approximately 200 homes or structures have been damaged, based on initial visual inspections by first responders.

Halifax deputy fire Chief David Meldrum said an estimated 14,000 people were told to flee their homes, most of which are about a 30-minute drive northwest of downtown Halifax.

As firefighters spent a second day battling a wildfire in suburban Halifax, some residents from evacuated subdivisions received the grim news that their homes were among those destroyed by the wind-driven flames. Katherine Tarateski said police told her her home was burned down and they couldn’t find her pets.

Tarateski said she was with her husband Nick and their young daughter Mia at a family gathering on Sunday when they heard about the approaching fires and rushed back to their home in Hammonds Plains to save their dog and cat. But when they arrived police had already blocked their street.

“The house can be rebuilt,” she said. “But my pets … I’m just devastated. It’s hard.”

Fire officials said the out-of-control fire, which started Sunday in nearby Upper Tantallon, has destroyed or damaged dozens of homes, though there hadn’t been any reports of deaths or injuries.

By early afternoon, Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources confirmed the wildfire covered about 8 square kilometers (3 miles). Meldrum said firefighters had concentrated on battling spot fires in residential areas in order to protect buildings and prevent the fire’s spread.

“This fire has not been contained, this fire is not under control,” he said. “It did not spread appreciably and that is thanks to weather, the work of the firefighters on the ground and the work of the air units.”

However, Meldrum stressed a change in weather conditions forecast for Tuesday could complicate things.

David Steeves, a forest resources technician with Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources, said the fire was helped by a lack of rain and a wooded area thick with softwood trees, which provide a volatile fuel source. “It was perfect conditions for a fast, quick, dangerous fire,” Steeves said.

No additional evacuations were ordered Monday, despite challenging conditions. In all, about 200 firefighters were battling the fire on Monday.

Florida police search for 3 gunmen who wounded 9 at crowded beach on Memorial Day

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.

A police officer shines his flashlight downward as he pauses on Hollywood Beach while investigating a shooting Monday, May 29, 2023, in Hollywood, Fla. Multiple people were injured Monday evening when gunfire erupted along the beach boardwalk. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

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.