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Vehicle struck people at pride parade in Florida, leaving one dead

Wilton Manors Police Chief Gary Blocker said in a statement that the episode was an accident.

Updated: June 20, 2021 - 6:16pm

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One person is dead and another hospitalized but expected to live after being struck on Saturday by a pickup truck at a pride parade in Florida. 

"The Fort Lauderdale Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation collaborated in investigating this incident with the goal of understanding the totality of the circumstances, and to identify if this was an accident, or an intentional act. Today we know yesterday's incident was a tragic accident, and not a criminal act directed at anyone, or any grouup of individuals," Wilton Manors Police Chief Gary Blocker said in a statement.

"Preliminary investigation into this incident has revealed that a 2011 white Dodge Ram was stopped in the staging area, awaiting the start of the parade in the 1600 block of Northeast 4th Avenue," the Fort Lauderdale Police Department said in a press release, which noted that that driver and the two pedestrians hit by the vehicle are members of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus. "The driver of the vehicle, a 77 year-old male, was a participant who had ailments preventing him from walking the duration of the parade and was selected to drive as the lead vehicle."

Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was in a convertible at the event and Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said on Saturday that the truck just missed that vehicle "by inches."

He described the incident as “a terrorist attack against the LGBT community," before backing off from that initial assessment in a statement on Sunday. "It was deliberate," Trantalis had said on Saturday. "It was premeditated and it was targeted against a specific person. Luckily they missed that person, but unfortunately, they hit two other people."

But then in a statement on Sunday Trantalis said: "I feared it could be intentional based on what I saw from mere feet away," Trantalis explained in the Sunday statement. "As the facts continue to be pieced together, a picture is emerging of an accident in which a truck careened out of control. As a result, one man died, two others were injured and the lives of two members of Congress were at risk."

"I am deeply shaken and devastated that a life was lost and others seriously injured at tonight’s @WiltonManorsCty Stonewall #Pride Parade. My staff, volunteers and I are thankfully safe," Wasserman Schultz tweeted on Saturday night.

 

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