UPDATE: A deadly incident at a Pride event in Broward County is NOT believed to be an intentional hate crime.
A participant in the Pride event accidentally drove his pickup truck in to a crowd hitting two pedestrians Saturday at the Stonewall Pride Parade in Wilton Manors, and one victim died.
Fort Lauderdale Police said yesterday the truck was part of the parade, and the 77-year-old driver accidentally accelerated as the procession was starting on Northeast Fourth Ave.
The victims and the driver are all members of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus.
One person was killed and another seriously injured Saturday night when a pickup truck plowed into a crowd of people before the start of the Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival in Wilton Manors just outside of Fort Lauderdale.
The incident took place at Northeast 15th Street and Northeast Fourth Avenue near Fort Lauderdale High School where floats were being staged for the annual parade.
BREAKING: #WiltonManors Mayor Scott Newton released a statement: “A tragic incident occurred at today’s Stonewall event. Out of respect for everyone involved, the parade has been canceled and a thorough investigation is being conducted.” #Pride https://t.co/A2NwSBvLCT
— SouthFloridaGayNews (@SFGN) June 20, 2021
The driver of the truck was taken into custody by police and social media posts show the suspect vehicle was flying a pride flag and the driver was revealed to be a member of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus according to the organization’s president Justin Knight.
The 77 year old driver cooperated with police and was not found to be under the influence at the time he was questioned.
The victims were also members of the chorus and Wilton Manors police have determined the incident was an accident and not deliberate.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis initially characterized the incident as intentional and told local media that he believed U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was the target of an attack as she was nearby when the incident took place.
Rep. Wasserman-Schultz issued a statement saying she was ‘heartbroken’ and ‘deeply shaken’ by the incident.
The parade portion of the event was cancelled however the street festival went on as planned.