Updated Jun 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Florida Pride parade fatal crash a "tragic accident," police say

 Parade participants walk away as police investigate the scene where a pickup truck drove into a crowd of people at a Pride parade on June 19, 2021 in Wilton Manors, Florida.
Participants walk away as police investigate the scene where a pickup truck drove into a crowd of people at a Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

Police said Sunday they believe a driver unintentionally hit spectators at a weekend Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, resulting in the death of one man and leaving another person hospitalized.

The latest: Addressing speculation that the crash may have been a hate crime against the LGBTQ community, Wilton Manors police chief Gary Blocker said in a statement: "Today we know yesterday's incident was a tragic accident, and not a criminal act directed at anyone, or any group of individuals."

  • Blocker did not comment on what led to the crash, nor did he identify the driver or those injured by the pickup truck.
  • Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, who is gay and told reporters Saturday that he believed the incident to be a "terrorist attack" on the LGBTQ community, said in a statement Sunday that he feared it "could be intentional based on what I saw from mere feet away."
  • "As the facts continue to be pieced together, a picture is emerging of an accident in which a truck careened out of control," he added.

The big picture:Reports emerged about 7 p.m. local time Saturday that a vehicle had "crossed multiple lanes, striking multiple people" at the Wilton Manors Stonewall Parade and Festival, according to the SunSentinel.

  • Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus president Justin Knight told news outlets that the driver and victims were a part of his group and that he understood it to be an accident, rather than a deliberate action.
  • Trantalis told reporters Saturday that police had "apprehended the driver" and that the vehicle missed a parade car carrying Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) "by inches."

What they're saying: Wasserman Schultz tweeted Saturday night that she's "deeply shaken and devastated that a life was lost and others seriously injured."

Of note: The incident was one of two involving a pickup truck hitting a crowd on Saturday, with several cyclists left critically wounded in Show Low, Arizona.

  • The driver in the mountain town "plowed into bicyclists during a community road race," AP reports. Six people were taken to a local hospital in a critical condition.
  • The 35-year-old suspect was shot by police at a nearby hardware store and was in a "stable but critical condition," per AP.
  • Police told AP the motive for the incident was not immediately known.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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