Florida Pride parade crash: Driver slams into crowd, killing one person, hurting another

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Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., makes a call after a truck drove into a crowd of people during The Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival in Wilton Manors, Fla., Saturday, June 19, 2021. A driver has slammed into spectators at the start of a Pride parade in South Florida, injuring at least two people. (Chris Day/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

WILTON MANORS, Fla. (AP) — A driver slammed into spectators Saturday evening at the start of a Pride parade in South Florida, killing one person and seriously injuring another, authorities said

The pickup truck driver acted like he was part of the Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride Parade but then suddenly accelerated when he was told he was next, crashing into the victims, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said, according to WSVN-TV. Wilton Manors is just north of Fort Lauderdale.

Authorities said one of the victims later succumbed to their injuries. The other victim was hospitalized.

The driver of the pickup truck was taken into custody. Authorities did not immediately give further details about the victims or say whether they think the crash was intentional.

Trantalis said he believes the crash was intentional and an attack against the LGBTQ community.

“It was deliberate,” he said.

Photos and video from the scene showed Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in tears while in a convertible at the parade.

In a statement Saturday night, Wasserman Schultz said she was safe but “deeply shaken and devastated that a life was lost.”

“I am so heartbroken by what took place at this celebration,” she said. “May the memory of the life lost be for a blessing.”

Spectator Christina Currie told the South Florida SunSentinel that she was with her family at the start of the parade.

“All of a sudden there was a loud revving of a truck and a crash through a fence,” Currie said. “It was definitely an intentional act right across the lanes of traffic.”

Wilton Manors police tweeted Saturday night that the public is not in danger.

“Though authorities are still gathering information, we know two individuals marching to celebrate inclusion and equality were struck by a vehicle,” Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said in a statement. “This tragedy took place within feet of me and my (Broward Sheriff’s Office) team, and we are devastated having witnessed this horrific incident.”

June is Pride Month, commemorating the June 1969 police raid targeting gay patrons at the Stonewall Inn in New York that led to an uprising of LGBTQ Americans and served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement.

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