Miami Beach imposes spring break curfew after deadly weekend shootings

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — In what seems like an annual spring break ritual, Miami Beach officials are imposing a curfew after two fatal shootings and rowdy crowds over the weekend.

The two separate Friday night and early Sunday shootings on popular Ocean Drive that left two people dead and “exceedingly large and unruly crowds” led to the decision, the statement said. City officials did not provide additional information when contacted by USA TODAY on Sunday.

This is the third year in a row that this South Florida vacation destination with more than 81,000 residents and traditionally favored by spring breakers has declared a curfew and a state of emergency.

Last year, the city imposed a midnight curfew following two shootings that left five people injured. In 2021, there were more than 1,000 arrests and dozens of guns confiscated during the rowdy spring break, leading Miami Beach officials to order an emergency curfew.

This year’s curfew begins at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday and ends at 6 a.m. on Monday. Another curfew will likely be in place Thursday through Monday. March 27. Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said the city commission has scheduled a meeting for Monday afternoon to discuss new measures.

“We don’t want spring break in our city”

In a video message posted on Sunday, the mayor said “both shootings were between visitors to Miami Beach and did not involve residents.”

Gelber said police seized about 70 firearms in the past three weeks. Moreover, the mayor added that the large crowd and the presence of numerous firearms have “created a peril that cannot go unchecked, especially in the evening”, despite a strong police presence.

“We don’t want spring break in our city. We don’t want spring break in our city. It’s too rowdy, it brings too much mess, and it’s just too hard to control,” said Gelber.

“While most can 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 firearms, creates a totally intolerable situation,” Gelber added, who apologized for the “disruption and inconvenience.”

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‘Enough is enough’

In a Twitter post early SundayCommissioner Steven Meiner said he asked the mayor to schedule an emergency commission meeting.

“Today we need to take action, including putting in place a curfew on South Beach,” Meiner said. Two people died. Enough is enough.”

The latest shooting occurred around 3:30 a.m. Sunday on Ocean Drive in South Beach, police said. A man was shot and later died in a hospital. Officers pursued a suspect on foot, Miami Beach Police said on Twitter.

The identity of the victim or possible suspect has not been released.

On Friday, one man died and another was seriously injured as nearby crowds rushed from restaurants and clubs onto the streets after hearing gunshots, police said. Police arrested one person at the scene and found four firearms. No further details were released.

Under the new curfew, people must leave businesses by midnight, although hotels can only operate later to serve their customers. Restaurants can remain open only for delivery and the curfew will not apply to people traveling to work, emergency services and hotel guests, according to the city’s statement on Sunday.

Some roads will be closed and guests arriving at the hotel may be required to provide proof of reservation.

Contributor: Associated Press

USA Today

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