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Driver crashes into crowd at Pride parade in Florida; 1 dead

News outlets reported a statement from the president of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus says the driver and the victims were a “part of the chorus family.”
Credit: AP
Police and firefighters respond after a truck drove into a crowd of people injuring them during The Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival in Wilton Manors, Fla., on Saturday, June 19, 2021. WPLG-TV reports that the driver of the truck was taken into custody. (Chris Day/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

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

Some witnesses said the crash appeared to be an intentional act, but Fort Lauderdale Police Detective Ali Adamson told reporters that authorities were investigating all possibilities.

The collision happened during the Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride Parade. Wilton Manors is just north of Fort Lauderdale.

The driver and the victims were a part of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus family, according to a statement reported by news outlets from the group's president, Justin Knight.

“To my knowledge it was an accident. This was not an attack on the LGBTQ community,” Knight said in the statement. “We anticipate more details to follow and ask for the community’s love and support.”

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said a driver of a pickup truck suddenly accelerated when he was told he was next in the parade, crashing into the victims, according to WSVN-TV. In the immediate aftermath of the crash, Trantalis said he believed the crash was “deliberate.”

Police said the driver was taken into custody, but it was unclear whether he had been charged.

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.”

On the Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride Parade Facebook page, organizers wrote, "Although the parade has officially been canceled, some our parade walkers will still walk along Wilton Drive." 

The show must go on!

Posted by Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride Parade & Street Festival Page on Saturday, June 19, 2021

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.