One person was killed and another seriously injured after a pickup truck crashed into the crowd at the start of a Pride parade in South Florida on Saturday night, officials said.
Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who attended the The Stonewall Pride Parade event, along with US Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ted Deutch, confirmed the incident on Twitter and said the driver was in custody.
“I’m lucky to be safe,” Fried tweeted. “We all here pray for them and their families.”
One victim was hospitalized while the other died of injuries, authorities said, according to the Associated Press.
Fort Lauderdale police did not immediately respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment. It was initially not known whether the driver acted deliberately.
Chris Caputo, a city commissioner at Wilton Manors, said on Twitter that it was “increasingly likely that it was an accident”. But Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told WSVN-TV that the driver had rushed into the crowd, describing the incident as a deliberate attack on the LGBTQ community.
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Joey Spears, 25, told USA TODAY that he was walking to the start of the parade when he saw the truck drive through the crowd.
“All of a sudden I see this truck come loose and just go through people,” Spears said.
Spears recorded a video of the episode showing a person on the ground. Spears said he and the people he was with were cornered by police in a local high school parking lot for about an hour before they were allowed to leave the area. Then they started to march.
“Unofficially, we were still walking through the parade because we didn’t want anything to stop us from showing our pride,” said Spears.
Photos and videos from the crime scene showed Wasserman Schultz tearfully in a convertible at the parade. A congressman spokesperson did not immediately email a request for comment.
Several local news outlets reported that the victims were being taken to Broward Health Medical Center. The center did not immediately respond to the request for comment.
Wilton Manors police said in a tweet that there was no danger to the public.
“A tragic incident occurred at today’s Stonewall event,” said Scott Newton, Mayor of Wilton Manors, in a statement. “Out of respect for everyone involved, the parade was canceled and a thorough investigation carried out.”
Deutch said on Twitter that he was “devastated by the horror we saw at Wilton Manors Pride”.
“I’m so sorry, Wilton Manors. I am so sorry my friends, ”he wrote.
Florida State Senator Shevrin “Shev” Jones said on Twitter that he was “heartbroken and shocked by what happened at Wilton Manors Pride”.
“Pray for and send love to all, including many friends,” wrote Jones.
The Wilton Manors Pride event takes place annually in June, according to the event’s website. About an hour after the incident, a Facebook page for the event posted a video of several participants marching down the street.
Wilton Manors is a town in Broward County. It has about 13,000 residents, according to the US Census Bureau.
Contribution: The Associated Press