Two Shootings Targeted Crowds In Miami, Leaving Three Dead And Dozens Wounded
The chief of the Miami Police Department is calling these gun crimes "a public health epidemic."
Shooters opened fire at crowds in two separate incidents in the Miami area over the weekend, leaving 3 people dead and at least 26 people wounded, and prompting a local police chief to call for action on the "epidemic" of gun violence.
On Friday, one person reportedly died and six others were injured at a party-and-event space bordering the Overtown and Wynwood areas. On Sunday, three assailants wounded at least 20 people, and two people were pronounced dead at a concert in a neighboring city. Both incidents were drive-by shootings, and the suspects are still at large.
According to the Miami Herald, the Miami Police Department was first called to the scene Friday by an automated system that alerts police to gunfire sounds.
A law enforcement source told the Miami Herald that they suspect "one or two people may have been targeted" by the shooter, but the shooter fired "indiscriminately" into the crowd at the party. Friends and family rushed six wounded attendees to nearby hospitals, and one of them reportedly remains in critical condition.
Miami police did not immediately respond to inquiries from BuzzFeed News.
Then, early Sunday, the Miami-Dade Police Department responded to calls of a shooting at a banquet hall that had been rented out for a concert in Hialeah, a city in the Miami metropolitan area. Two people were found dead at the scene, with at least 20 people wounded, Miami-Dade police confirmed to BuzzFeed News. They have not yet released the names of the victims, but both people who died were men.
Police said that at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, three people got out of a white SUV, a Nissan Pathfinder, and began shooting "indiscriminately" into the crowd standing outside the venue before fleeing.
Surveillance video released by police on Monday showed the entire incident lasted only a matter of seconds.
Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez III told reporters that they used assault rifles and handguns, and it appeared they were targeting someone attending the event as they fired at the crowd. He offered his condolences to the victims and also shared his frustration.
"This type of gun violence has to stop," he said. "Every weekend, it's the same thing."
Police are continuing to investigate both incidents and have asked the public to share any information about who is responsible.
Art Acevedo, the chief of police of the Miami Police Department, tweeted Saturday — before the second shooting — that the gun crimes happening "on a regular basis across our country" should be treated like a public health crisis.
"This is second mass shooting event in our region this weekend. If we don’t fully mobilize as a society against it, it will get worse before it gets better," he continued to tweet Sunday. "Firearms belong in the hands of law-abiding Americans of sound [mind], more [must be] done to keep them out of the wrong hands."
As of Sunday, 17,883 people have died from gun violence this year, and more than 15,000 have been injured, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The organization has also recorded 237 mass shootings.