DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A shooting erupted at a Florida beachside road where more than 200 people gathered and were seen partying and dancing despite pandemic restrictions, authorities say.
According to officials, an event named “Orlando Invades Daytona” was scheduled to be held Saturday.
According to officials, the same event was permitted to happen last year. This year, authorities said a permit was not filed.
“Were there massive crowds? Absolutely. Did we get slammed? Absolutely,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said.
City officials received numerous phone calls and messages worried for their safety as large crowds began to form on A1A.
“We need to find out where we can go further from this,” Daytona Beach Shores Council Member Billie Wheeler said. "Our citizens were locked down. I was hearing nothing but terror from residents.”
The massive crowds come as tourist destinations like Daytona Beach, begin to welcome back visitors after COVID-19 shutdowns.
However, the events on Saturday promoted some visitors to pack their bags and leave, according to Wheeler.
“One hotel had 26 families move out,” Wheeler said.
According to officials, authorities received a 90% compliance from most people, and crowds were gone by 11:30 p.m.
“I can’t lock people up if they’re not breaking the law. Everyone is welcome to Daytona Beach,” Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri sad.
Around 7:30 p.m. officers said a shooting occurred on Ocean Avenue.
Chief Capri said two people shot and four others were hit by shrapnel.
Mike Campanile said he heard about six gunshots close to where he works on Daytona Beach. Investigators saying two men were shot and four others were hurt.
All victims are expected to survive.
“I took what I could of children who were around my building I brought them inside,” Campanile said.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office released helicopter images showing the large Memorial Day weekend crowds surrounding a car outside a beachfront mall as men stood on the sunroof and out the windows throwing money around and blocking traffic.
“Traffic is completely shut down with probably 200 people in the middle of the road,” officials in a helicopter said.
Video from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office shows a large group of people gathered around a white car on A1A.
“It looks like there are two people out the sunroof throwing money,” the pilot said. “They’re clearly throwing cash at the crowd.”
Images show the group scattering when officers arrived, but another large group then gathered around a different vehicle.
People can be seen dancing in the bed of trucks, on top of a Jeep and crowding in the middle of the street.
“The crowds were compliant when asked to disperse. No arrests were made,” Daytona Beach Police said.
Law enforcement agencies say no arrests have been made.
“I’m not the social distancing police,” Capri said. “That’s not my job. We recommended crowds disperse. We went around and asked crowds to disperse. The crowds that we came in contact with were compliant.”
Skip to 9:28 for the start of the news conference.
Large gatherings in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic have become a common sight for authorities in Volusia County.
A number of block parties have been broken up, one resulting in a man hospitalized with a non-life-threatening injury after being shot.
The man was shot in the foot, fled the scene, went home to Orlando to wrap up his foot, then woke up and went to a hospital for further treatment, deputies said.
Volusia County investigators said that block party was dangerous, senseless and embarrassing. They featured large crowds they say blocked traffic and caused safety hazards.
“It was a potentially violent situation,” Chitwood said. “We gained, complained and we flushed it out of there.”
Deputies said a long gun was also pointed out of a passing car. One Volusia County deputy suffered a minor knee injury, while a DeLand police Officer Had a minor head injury.
The Associated Press contributed to this story