At least eight people were shot in southeastern Florida on Monday during a massive celebration for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, authorities said.
More than 1,000 people were attending a block party with live music and a car show at Ilous Ellis Park in Fort Pierce, north of West Palm Beach, when multiple gunshots rang out at approximately 5:20 p.m. local time, just hours after an MLK Day parade had ended, according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office.
“It was mass chaos,” Chief Deputy Brian Hester, who took part in the parade, told reporters on Monday night. “People were running in all different directions.”
One of the eight gunshot victims, all of whom were adults, was hospitalized in critical condition. Four other individuals, including a child, were injured as they ran for safety, according to Hester and a press release from the sheriff’s office.
“There were people laying behind cars, laying behind anything they could lay behind,” Hester recalled. “It was kind of hard to tell who was a victim and who was just hiding at that point.”
St. Lucie County Sheriff deputies work at a crime scene following a shooting during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event in Fort Pierce, Fla., Jan. 17, 2023.
Cristobal Herrera-Ulashkevich/EPA via Shutterstock
Detectives believe the shooting was a result of a dispute between two parties in the park. So far, evidence suggests there were