Miami Beach was under curfew Sunday night as officials attempted to calm the Florida city following two fatal shootings that erupted over the weekend amid spring break revelry.
The curfew was put in place via emergency powers for the South Beach neighborhood from midnight Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday in response to “two shootings and excessively large and unruly crowds,” the city of some 80,600 people said in a statement.
Those found violating the curfew are subject to arrest and criminal prosecution.
The sale of alcohol in the designated area was also prohibited after 6 p.m.
The city is to hold a special commission meeting at 4 p.m. Monday to discuss applying the restrictions from Thursday through March 27 as the emergency powers awarded city managers are limited to 72 hours, officials said.
“The volume of people in our city, the unruly nature of too many and the presence of guns has created a peril that cannot go unchecked, especially in the evening,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said in a video statement.
Officials ordered the curfew following the deaths of two people in two shootings in Ocean Drive on Friday and Saturday.
The first shooting occurred at 10:41 p.m. Friday, resulting in two people being transported with gunshot wounds to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Unit, where one of them died, Miami Beach Police said in a statement. The other victim was listed as in critical condition.
The second shooting was reported at 3:29 a.m. Sunday also resulting in one person killed. A second person suffered an unspecified injury but was treated at the scene and released, police said.
In both shootings, suspects were arrested within minutes of the crime taking place, officials said.
“As is the case with most serious crime in our city, both shootings were between visitors to Miami Beach and did not involve residents,” Gelber said. “In both cases, police were literally seconds away from the incidents and arrests were made within minutes. That said, it is clear that even an unprecedented police presence could not prevent these incidents from occurring.”
He added that over the last three weeks, more than 70 firearms have been impounded.
Miami Beach had similarly imposed a curfew following spring break violence last March.
The mayor on Sunday said that the police presence has aided with crowd control and has seen a drop in day arrests compared to a year prior. However, the situation at night requires that a strict curfew be put in place, he said.
“While most may come here to enjoy the amenities of Miami Beach, the overwhelming volume of visitors, the few that come with bad intentions and the presence of guns creates a wholly intolerable situation,” he said. “Notwithstanding an enormous deployment of police, at times it remains a tinder.”
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