Multiple gunmen shoot into crowd outside Florida banquet hall
The gunfire erupted at the El Mula Banquet Hall in northwest Miami-Dade County, near Hialeah.
Authorities in South Florida are seeking help from the public after two people died and at least 20 others were injured early Sunday during a shooting outside a banquet hall.
The gunfire erupted at the El Mula Banquet Hall in northwest Miami-Dade County, near Hialeah, police said. The hall had been rented out for a concert. Three people rolled out of an SUV and opened fire on the crowd outside, Miami-Dade police director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez III said.
“I am at the scene of another targeted and cowardly act of gun violence, where over 20 victims were shot and 2 have sadly died,” Ramirez tweeted. “These are cold blooded murderers that shot indiscriminately into a crowd and we will seek justice. My deepest condolences to the family of the victims.”
Camping World CEO and TV personality Marcus Lemonis said on Twitter that he was offering a $100,000 reward “to help authorities in my hometown … arrest and convict the suspect/suspects.”
Ramirez said police were grateful for the reward offer.
“This is our community, we are stronger together,” Ramirez said. “We need our county to step up with information.”
Miami division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was offering $25,000 to the reward, he later said on Twitter, bringing the total reward to $125,000.
Two people died at the scene, police said. As many as 25 people went to various hospitals for treatment. Family members and loved ones gathered outside the emergency room at Jackson Memorial awaiting information.
As of Sunday afternoon, police had not released the names of the victims.
Angelica Green told Local 10 News that her 24-year-old son was shot in the stomach.
“He called us frantic, saying he had been shot, that it hurts and that he loves us,” Green said. “He said the guys came with ski masks and hoodies, and just started shooting up the crowd.”
No arrests were immediately announced, and police were asking the community for help and gathering surveillance footage in the search for evidence.
The shooting took place about 24 hours after one person was killed and six others wounded in a drive-by shooting in the Wynwood area of Miami, the Miami Herald reported.
“It is very difficult to stop a small amount of individuals who want to go out there and commit murder, and it takes all of us to stop this,” Ramirez told the newspaper. “We really have to put the work in this summer to keep our children and community safe.”
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis joined in mourning, saying on Twitter he was “praying for the recovery” of the victims and pledged help from state authorities.
“We are working with local authorities to bring justice to the perpetrators. Justice needs to be swift & severe!” DeSantis tweeted.
Democratic state Sen. Shevrin Jones said he wants DeSantis to do more than just pray. He’s calling on the governor to sit down with Democrats to discuss meaningful ways of addressing gun violence.
“Thoughts and prayers have been going on for years and thoughts and prayers haven’t done a damn thing inside the Black community – or any community when it comes to gun violence,” Jones said.
But he acknowledged Republicans are resistant to discuss the issue.
“Republicans don’t want to talk about guns. They think we’re trying to take their guns away from them. If their talking point is that guns are for protection, or that guns are for hunting, just know that that terminology is different in certain communities,” Jones said. “Some of these individuals are using guns to murder. Some of these individuals are using guns to hunt people.”
Contributing: Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY; The Associated Press