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Curfew On Miami Beach After Mayor Declares State Of Emergency Following Spring Break Shootings

MIAMI BEACH (CBS Miami) - After a busy spring break weekend marred by two shootings in the entertainment district, Miami Beach is taking action.

Monday afternoon, Mayor Dan Gelber, City Manager Alina Hudak, Police Chief Richard Clements, and city commissioners announced a state of emergency and new specific measures for spring break crowd control.

"We're signing an executive order that is going to implement a curfew at midnight beginning Wednesday night, Thursday morning at 12:01, going through the weekend," said Gelber.

The curfew will be in effect for 23rd Street to Southpoint Drive from the ocean to the bay.

There will be a meeting this week to discuss extending the curfew beyond this weekend.

"It is horribly sad that we're standing here for the cowardly acts of random people," said Hudak.

Hudak says she is fed up with the large crowds that flock to the beach for spring break and the violence that comes with it.

"My first priority as the city manager of Miami Beach is to provide for public safety," she said. "We had two random shootings of innocent bystanders this weekend. Even with all of our planning and our efforts and all of the resources we have dedicated and prepared for, including an additional 80 officers from Miami-Dade police, a 30-member multi-agency task force, we had this horrific event this weekend."

Early Monday morning, one man was arrested in connection to a shooting near 7th Street and Ocean Drive, near the Avalon hotel.

Tamika Williams is in town for a volleyball tournament.

"It was just a shock to hear the gunshots and all of the commotion outside of the window," she said. "It was like a couple of pow, pow, pows and you heard all of the screaming and everyone saying 'run.'"

Two women were injured in the shooting, one with non-life threatening injuries, the other was grazed by a bullet.

Lo Mills said he was heading home when he briefly made eye contact with the gunman.

"I see a guy with a gun running so I pulled out my gun. I'm thinking he's gonna shoot me, so [when] I see that he ain't gonna shoot me, I let him go," said Mills who told CBS4 he was later detained and questioned by Miami Beach police after they saw him armed. Mills was later released.

Miami Beach police said Derrick Mitchell, 19, was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed firearm and tampering with evidence. Officers reportedly observed him running with a gun and then throwing it in some bushes when he was told to stop. He told police he only fired his gun because someone shot at him first, according to the arrest report. Surveillance video backed up that claim. It showed him pulling a gun and firing five rounds after someone shot at him.

The primary gunman remains at large.

Another shooting happened Sunday around midnight near 8th Street and Ocean Drive.

According to Miami Beach police, two of the people shot were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. A third victim showed up at Mount Sinai Hospital with a gunshot wound, also non-life-threatening.

In total, over the weekend five people were shot. Clements says one of those incidents happened right next to an officer.

"Gunfire was 10 feet away from an officer who was on an ATV, and he had to dive off the ATV in order to get behind it because he didn't know where the gunfire was coming from," he said.

Surveillance video showed the moments after the shooting when hundreds of people ran away from the scene. And then moments later, the large crowds ran back, creating a situation Gelber said has become way too common.

"No community, no police force, should have to suffer through this. You know I'm really tired of it, frankly, I'd love to get rid of spring break. I wish the spring breakers would go somewhere else," he said.

Gelber said the city has been doing everything in its power to control the crowds, but those measures were not enough.

Gelber says the city commission will hold a special meeting Tuesday to approve the curfew and possible vote to extend it for a second week during the same time period.


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