USA TODAY International Edition
Miami Beach cracks down after two fatal shootings
In what’s appearing to be an annual spring break ritual, officials in Miami Beach, Florida, are imposing a curfew after two fatal shootings and rowdy crowds this weekend.
The two separate shootings Friday night and early Sunday on the popular Ocean Drive that left two people dead and “excessively large and unruly crowds” led to the decision, the release said. City officials didn’t provide further information when contacted by USA TODAY on Sunday.
It’s the third consecutive year the South Florida vacation destination with more than 81,000 residents and traditionally favored among spring breakers has declared a curfew and state of emergency.
Last year, the city imposed a midnight curfew after two shootings injured five people. In 2021, more than1,000 arrests were made and dozens of guns were confiscated during a rowdy spring break, leading Miami Beach officials to order a curfew.
This year’s curfew started at 11: 59 p. m. Sunday and lasted through 6 a. m. Monday. Another curfew probably will be in place this Thursday through Monday. Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said the city commission has scheduled a meeting Monday afternoon to discuss further measures.
In a video message posted Sunday, the mayor said “both shootings were between visitors to Miami Beach and did not involve residents.”
Gelber said police have impounded about 70 firearms over the past three weeks. Additionally, the mayor said, the crowds and presence of guns have “created a peril that cannot go unchecked, especially in the evenings,” despite heavy police presence.
“We don’t ask for spring break in our city. We don’t want spring break in our city. It’s too rowdy, it brings too much disorder, and it’s simply too difficult to police,” Gelber said.
“While most may come to enjoy the amenities of Miami Beach, the overwhelming volume of visitors, but a few who come with bad intentions and the presence of guns, creates a wholly intolerable situation,” said Gelber.
In a Twitter post early Sunday, Commissioner Steven Meiner said he asked the mayor to schedule an emergency commission meeting.
“Today we need to take action, including implementing a South Beach curfew,” Meiner said. “Two people dead. Enough is enough.”
The latest shooting happened about 3: 30 a. m. Sunday on Ocean Drive in South Beach, police said. A male was shot and died at the hospital.
On Friday, one man died and another man was seriously injured as crowds scrambled from restaurants and clubs into the streets after hearing gunshots, police said. Police detained one person and found four firearms.
Under the curfew, people must leave businesses before midnight, although hotels can operate later only to service their guests. Restaurants can stay open only for delivery, according to the city’s release Sunday.