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Nine people, including four children, were shot Monday evening after police said a dispute between two groups escalated to gunfire on the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk — prompting thousands of Memorial Day beach-goers to hysterically scatter and duck for cover.
Authorities took the victims to Memorial Regional Hospital and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood. One of the wounded was undergoing surgery as of 10:30 p.m.; the others were already stable.
The children’s ages range from 1 to 17 years; the adults’ ages range from 25 to 65, according to Deanna Bettineschi, a spokeswoman with the Hollywood Police Department.
“I’m saddened and angered,” said Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy during a late night press conference. “People come to enjoy a holiday weekend on the beach with their families and to have people … have an altercatin with guns in a public setting with thousands of people around them is beyond reckless.”
By 9 p.m., roughly three hours after mayhem broke out following an array of shots fired, Bettineschi noted Hollywood police had detained one suspect and were still looking for a second.
She asked the public to send any photos and videos of the incident to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Police Chief Chris O’Brien called it a “senseless act of gun violence.” He also thanked the first responders and good samaritans who helped the victims and asserted the officers will track down the “criminals.”
“We will leave no stone unturned,” he said. “These that were involved in the incident today will he held accountable for their actions.”
At around 6:45 p.m., authorities received a call about shots fired near Johnson Street, located west of the Hollywood Beach Theater, Bettineschi said. The city’s web cameras then captured the chaos that ensued.
Jamie Ward, a Hollywood Beach resident, detailed arriving at the bandshell area about five minutes after the gunfire erupted. He saw a man sitting down with a tourniquet on his leg, another man being whisked away on a gurney into an ambulance and a woman who had been shot lying on the sand.
“These innocent people were hit,” he said.