A pickup truck drove into a group of spectators lined up to watch the start of a Pride parade taking place in Wilton Manors, Florida. One man was killed while another remains in critical condition. The man behind the wheel is being questioned by police, The Guardian reports.
The truck driver appeared to be part of the Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride parade taking place that day when it suddenly accelerated and veered into the crowd. He almost hit local congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was taking part in the parade on a convertible, but struck two men in a tragic and confusing act. The parade was cancelled soon after.
Strangely, Fort Lauderdale mayor Dean Trantalis noted that the suspect was wearing the logo of the local Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus on his t-shirt when he performed the act. Justin Knight, president of said chorus, feels it wasn’t an intentional hate crime because the suspect driving the pickup truck was a known part of the chorus. The two men who were struck by the truck were also Chorus members.
Fort Lauderdale police are investigating the accident with the help of the FBI, but both are unwilling to say whether or not the believe the accident was intentional at this time.
Here’s a little more from The Guardian:
Trantalis said the vehicle came within inches of Democratic US representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was in a convertible at the parade.
“The parade had just begun and we saw people lining up and ready to move and all of a sudden this white pickup truck dashed right through the crowd, barely missing congresswoman Wasserman Schultz’s car by inches and smashed through a gate,” he said.
In a statement, 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.”
In a completely separate incident in Show Low, Arizona, a pickup truck driver intentionally crashed into cyclists competing in a bike race, seriously injuring six people. The suspect fled the scene but was caught and shot by police as a way to take him into custody, the New York Times reports.
The crash took place within an hour of the start of the race on Saturday. Six people were transported to the hospital; four were in critical condition, two were in critical but stable condition. A few others walked into the hospital of their own accord with minor injuries. The truck driver, too, was in critical but stable condition.
Here’s a little more from the story:
Tony Quinones, 55, of Santa Fe, N.M., said he had been riding for about six minutes with other cyclists ages 55 and over when a black pickup that had been driving in the opposite direction crossed over three lanes and headed toward the cyclists.
He assumed the driver was turning into a parking lot.
Instead, he said, the driver plowed directly into the cyclists who had been ahead of Mr. Quinones in what he described as a targeted attack.
“I don’t know who the heck this guy is, or what his motive was,” Mr. Quinones said in an interview on Saturday. “But he intentionally did not go left into a parking lot. He drove his truck directly and intentionally into our group, and you could hear him accelerate until he hit that telephone pole.”
He said he had seen bikes and bodies flying.
After the driver hit a telephone pole, he said, cyclists ran up to the truck and started pounding on the windows, screaming at the driver to get out.
But rather than stop, the driver hit the accelerator and backed out, drove down the road, made a U-turn and then headed back toward the cyclists, he said.
In this instance, authorities believe the crash was intentional. They have not released any specific information regarding motivation.