One person is dead and another critically injured after a man in a truck ploughed into a group of people at a Pride parade in Florida.
One person is dead and another is fighting for his life after a man in a truck ploughed into a crowd at a Pride parade in Florida today.
The driver was taken into custody after allegedly hitting a group of people at the Stonewall Pride Parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, at around 7pm local time on Saturday.
A local politician told media he believed the incident was a premeditated act of “terrorism”.
Shock footage from the scene shows Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in tears after the pick-up truck narrowly avoided smashing into the convertible the Democrat was riding in.
The white pick-up truck had been lined up with other floats at the beginning of the parade when it suddenly accelerated and ran over two people taking part in the event.
The two victims were both taken to Broward Health Medical Center via ambulance where one was later pronounced dead, Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said.
“This tragedy took place within feet of me and my BSO team, and we are devastated having witnessed this horrific incident,” Brown said in a statement.
“Our prayers are with the victims and their families. Be sure to hug the ones you love tonight.”
Officers were filmed administering CPR to one of the victims in the middle of the street.
Video posted to social media also showed a man being taken into custody that was later confirmed to be the driver of the truck.
The man appeared to be wearing a shirt from the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men‘s Chorus, with the acronym “FTLGMC” written in rainbow-coloured lettering visible on his back. LGBT+ flags were also displayed on his truck.
But Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dena Trantalis said he believed the incident was “premeditated” and characterised it as a “terrorist attack against the LGBT community.”
Mr Trantalis was merely yards away when the white pick-up truck “dashed right through the crowd.”
He had been walking alongside a local congressman just seconds after the parade began when he saw the truck suddenly hit the gas.
“We saw people lining up ready to move and all of a sudden this white pick-up truck dashed right through the crowd barely missing Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz‘s car by inches.”
According to the mayor, the truck then “smashed through a gate, smashed through a landscaping company and he hit two people.”
The driver of the truck reportedly told police that his foot became stuck between the gas pedal and the brake, causing him to lose control of the vehicle.
However, the official warned that an investigation is still in its early stages and more information is likely to emerge.
But Mr Trantalis also claimed that the driver attempted to flee the scene but police officers caught up with him and took him into custody.
Police have not yet released any information to suggest the incident was premeditated.
Spectator Christina Currie who was at the parade with her husband and two children told the Sun Sentinel that she believed the incident was “intentional.”
“We were at the start of the parade, right in front of Fort Lauderdale High School,” Currie said.
“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 circumstances surrounding the incident remain unclear.
The truck narrowly missed Congresswoman Schultz, who was participating in the parade in a campaign-emblazoned convertible.
A reporter for WPLG said that it appeared as though the truck had been aiming for the Democrat‘s car but “missed” before running over the two victims.
Schultz was pictured in tears while speaking on the phone inside the car as police descended on the scene.
She later released a statement, saying she was “deeply shaken and devastated that a life was lost” at the parade.
“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,” she said.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried was also at the parade on Saturday, she confirmed in a tweet.
“I’m lucky to be safe, but at least two people were hit and are in critical condition,” she wrote.
“All of us here all praying for them and their families.”
This article originally appeared inand was republished with permission