Six people were wounded Saturday in a Daytona Beach shooting as massive crowds gathered during Memorial Day weekend.
Daytona Police Chief Craig Capri said Sunday at a news conference that two people were shot around 7:30 p.m. on South Ocean Avenue near Breakers Oceanfront Park. Police later discovered four people were hit by shrapnel during the shooting. None of the injuries are life-threatening, he said.
Capri said the victims are not cooperating with the investigation and police have not arrested any suspects.
Multiple agencies, including the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and Daytona Beach Police Department, said they prepared for an influx of people during the holiday weekend. The state began its phased reopening earlier this month from shutdowns meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and scores of Floridians headed oceanside.
At Cocoa Beach on Saturday, where people kicked off the Memorial Day weekend, there were few clue that the coronavirus pandemic remains at the forefront of the global conversation.
“We got slammed,” said Volusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood. “Disney’s closed. Universal’s closed. Everything’s closed. So where did everybody come on the first warm day with 50% opening? Everybody came to the beach.”
Volusia County Beach Safety director Ray Manchester said lifeguards rescued 300 people Saturday along the 47 miles of beaches and “every part of it was full.”
Chitwood said “the linchpin” of the disturbances that happened Saturday in Daytona Beach was an incident that drew a large crowd around a man tossing cash from a vehicle.
Helicopter footage released by the Sheriff’s Office shows “a couple hundred people” surrounding the car parked on State Road A1A in front of a Burger King and dozens more gathered on the sidewalk.
“We’re going to identify him, and we’re going to charge him,” Chitwood said, without elaborating on possible charges.
Chief Capri said despite the various incidents, authorities “never lost control” of the area and were able to disperse crowds as they popped up.
“I know people were scared and I know people were upset about the numbers of crowds there,” he said. “We don’t take this lightly especially with the crowds gathering together right now as we got the coronavirus still going around and people not practicing social distancing. But I’m not the social distancing police — that’s not my job.”
Volusia Councilwoman Billie Wheeler said she received many phone calls and “heard nothing but terror” from residents who live beachside.
“I did not feel safe last night, and I had citizens that did not feel safe,” she said.
Wheeler said one hotel told her that 26 families checked out Sunday morning because of the Saturday incidents.
“We’re pushing ‘Come back to Florida. Come back to Daytona. It’s a family place.’ ” she said. “We’re missing something here.”
World news – Authorities ‘slammed’ in Daytona Beach during Memorial Day weekend with shooting, massive crowds