Pickup truck drives into Pride parade in Florida; one dead, one hurt

1 month ago 20
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June 20 (UPI) -- A pickup truck plowed into the start of the Stonewall Pride Parade near Fort Lauderdale on Saturday night, killing one man and injuring another apparently by accident, officials said.

Around 7 p.m., a white truck that was lined up with other floats accelerated and ran over the two men in Wilton Manors.

The unidentified man driving the truck was taken into custody and was being questioned. He was wearing a Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus T-shirt.

"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. We anticipate more details to follow and ask for the community's love and support."

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 a parade and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said the driver missed her "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."

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."

Short after the crash, Trantalis told WPLG: "This is a terrorist attack against the LGBT community. 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."

Trantalis said a third person was injured but in stable condition.

The parade was canceled though other festival events were to continue, organizers said.

June is Pride Month. The Stonewall riots happened in late June 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan.

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