Officials believe that an incident in which a man was killed and another seriously injured after a driver hit spectators with his pickup truck at the start of a Pride parade in South Florida on Saturday evening was an accident.
Around 7 p.m., witnesses say a white pickup truck that was lined up with other floats accelerated into the crowd running over two men in Wilton Manors.
The unidentified man driving the truck was immediately taken into custody and was being questioned by police.
Video of the arrest shows the suspect wearing a Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus T-shirt.
This is believed to be the driver of the truck, he is in custody.
🎥- @delarosaWPLG #Pride2021 @WiltonManorsCty https://t.co/Uq6sUjHNuM pic.twitter.com/VIC4yGSvZ8
— Ian Margol (@IanMargolWPLG) June 19, 2021
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the tragic accident that occurred when the Stonewall Pride Parade was just getting started,” Justin Knight, the chorus’ president, said through a spokesman. “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,” he added. “We anticipate more details to follow and ask for the community’s love and support.”
Chris Caputo, Wilton Manors City Commissioner, also tweeted that “it seems increasingly probable” that the collision was an accident.
The Fort Lauderdale Police Department posted on Twitter. “We ask for patience as we work to conduct a thorough and complete investigation.”
The two victims were taken to Broward Health Medical Center, where one was pronounced dead, Fort Lauderdale Police Detective Ali Adamson said. The other man is expected to survive, Adamson said.
U.S. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was riding in a convertible in the parade when the truck plowed through the crowd. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said the driver missed the congresswoman “by inches,” before crashing through a gate and into a plant nursery.
“I am deeply shaken and devastated that a life was lost and others seriously injured at tonight’s Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride Parade,” Wasserman Schultz posted on Twitter. “My staff, volunteers and I are, thankfully, safe. I want to thank our first responders for their heroic efforts as both police and emergency medical personnel stepped into action quickly.
“We’re praying for the victims and their loved ones as law enforcement investigates and I am providing them with whatever assistance I can. I am so heartbroken by what took place at this celebration. May the memory of the life lost be for a blessing.”
Photos from the scene where a truck drove into a crowd taking part in The Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival in Wilton Manors. Rep. Wasserman Schultz is seen reacting to the incident. @SunSentinel pic.twitter.com/UAIaa7yRTe
— Chris Day (@cjday1900) June 19, 2021
Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony also was near the incident.
“This tragedy took place within feet of me and my BSO team, and we are devastated having witnessed this horrific incident,” Tony tweeted. “I’m proud of all the BSO and local first responders who leaped into action, running into the unknown and instantly provided care for the victims.”
The parade was canceled though other festival events were to continue, organizers said.