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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — Nine people were injured when gunfire erupted along a beachside promenade in Hollywood, Florida, sending people frantically running for cover at the crowded beach on Memorial Day.
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. All of the victims were in stable condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.
At least one person was in custody, but police were looking for more suspects, Bettineschi said.
Hollywood, Florida, beach turns into tragic scene
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. “The Hollywood Police Department will leave no stone unturned. We do not appreciate when people come into our city with guns and have an altercation in the midst of a public setting here.”
Videos posted on Twitter on Monday evening 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.