WILTON MANORS, Fla. — One man was killed and another was injured Saturday evening when they were struck by a pickup truck just as a Pride parade was beginning in South Florida, police confirmed.
Update 10:38 p.m. EDT June 19: A spokesperson with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department confirmed that one adult male died as a result of his injuries. Another adult male was taken to an area hospital and was expected to survive.
Detective Ali Adamson, the public information officer for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, said at a news conference late Saturday that the driver of the vehicle was speaking with authorities.
Asked if the incident was intentional, Adamson said that “the investigation is active, and we are evaluating all possibilities.”
“Nothing is out of the question right now, and we have to look at all angles, and that’s what we are doing,” Adamson told reporters.
Justin Knight, president of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus, told WPLG through a spokesperson that chorus members were the victims and that the driver was “part of the chorus family.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the tragic accident that occurred when the Stonewall Pride Parade was just getting started,” Knight said in a statement. “Our fellow chorus members were those injured and the driver was also a part of the chorus family. To my knowledge, this was not an attack on the LGBTQ community. We anticipate more details to follow and ask for the community’s love and support.”
Original report: The white pickup truck was lined up with other floats at the Wilton Manors Stonewall Parade and Festival, located in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Wilton Manors, when the driver hit the gas and struck the two victims, WPLG reported.
Several media outlets, including the Sun-Sentinel, WPLG and WSVN, said one person had died, citing Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, who attended the event. Fort Lauderdale police also confirmed that one person was dead.
The driver is in custody, the media outlets reported.
Trantalis said one victim was clinging to life and a third man was expected to survive, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
The driver’s identity has not been released by police, the Miami Herald reported. It is unclear if the crash was intentional.
Fort Lauderdale City Manager Chris Lagerbloom said the FBI is joining the investigation, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Wilton Manors City Commissioner Chris Caputo tweeted about the incident, saying he believed it was “probably an accident.”
Trantalis disagreed, calling it “a terrorist attack.”
“This is a terrorist attack against the LGBT community,” Trantalis told WPLG. “This is exactly what it is. Hardly an accident. It was deliberate, it was premeditated, and it was targeted against a specific person. Luckily they missed that person, but unfortunately, they hit two other people.”
The twilight parade, themed “Out of the Darkness, Into the Light” began in Wilton Manors at around 7 p.m., but the crash reportedly took place in Fort Lauderdale, WSVN reported.
“Still filled with sadness,” Caputo tweeted.
Trantalis also confirmed the crash at the parade, WSVN reported.
According to Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, both victims are in critical condition and were taken to an area hospital, WPLG reported.
Police detained the man who was driving the truck, the television station reported. It is unclear whether it was intentional.
The truck narrowly missed hitting U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was in a convertible participating in the parade, WPLG reported.
“We were at the start of the parade, right in front of Fort Lauderdale High School,” Christina Currie, who was at the parade with her husband and their two elementary school-aged children, told the Sun-Sentinel. “All of a sudden there was a loud revving of a truck and a crash through a fence... It was definitely an intentional act right across the lanes of traffic.
“The kids are obviously extremely upset. They don’t understand why someone would do this.”
The parade was canceled, the Wilton Manors Police Department said in a tweet.
“A tragic incident occurred at today’s Stonewall event,” Wilton Manors Mayor Scott Newton said in a statement. “Out of respect for everyone involved, the parade has been canceled and a thorough investigation is being conducted.”
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