One dead after truck drives into spectators at Florida LGBTQ Pride event
At least two people were injured as a vehicle struck the crowd at an annual LGBTQ Pride event in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Saturday. One victim has died and the truck’s driver is in custody.
The victim’s death was confirmed to WPLG 10 News by Dean Trantalis, Fort Lauderdale’s mayor, who participated in the parade alongside civilians and public officials. Despite city commissioner Chris Caputo’s characterization of the incident as an accident, Trantalis said it was a targeted hate crime.
“All of a sudden this white pickup truck dashed right through the crowd, barely missing congresswoman [Debbie] Wasserman Schultz’ car by inches, smashed through a gate… and he hit two people,” Trantalis said. “This is a terrorist attack against the LGBT community.”
A bystander, Joey Spears, captured video of the events immediately following the collision. Workers can be seen ushering people off the streets as police attend to a man on the ground. A white pickup truck with a Pride flag is seen in the background.
Congressman Ted Deutch, who marched alongside Trantalis and others, said on Twitter he was “devastated” by what he witnessed.
“Intensely grateful for police who sprung to action before us to save lives,” he said. “I’m so sorry, Wilton Manors. I’m so sorry, my friends.”
While other festival events will continue, the parade has been canceled as the collision is being investigated by numerous law enforcement agencies including the FBI.
Law enforcement officials haven’t confirmed details on the nature of the collision. The truck’s driver, captured by local media cameras, wore a T-Shirt emblazoned with the logo of a local Gay Men’s Chorus and reportedly told police he crashed his vehicle on accident after his foot got stuck.
“Our fellow chorus members were those injured, and the driver was a part of the chorus family,” Justin Knight, president of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus, said. “To my knowledge it was an accident. This was not an attack on the LGBTQ community.”