By TERRY SPENCER (Associated Press)
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — Nine people were injured Monday evening when gunfire erupted along a beachside promenade in Hollywood, Florida, sending people frantically running for cover along the crowded beach on Memorial Day.
Several of the wounded were taken to a children’s hospital, police spokesperson Deanna Bettineschi said.
The nine people hurt 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.
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.
Bettineschi said the shooting happened shortly before 7 p.m. 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.
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 broadwalk, 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.
“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.
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.