A shooting at a Florida park during a peace rally packed with kids ready to go back to school ended with the suspect seriously injured and the bystander who stopped him hailed as a hero by authorities.
The Titusville Police Department said the incident at Isaac Campbell Park late Saturday afternoon was sparked over a fistfight after which one of the brawlers returned with a gun and started shooting. An armed bystander lawfully carrying a concealed handgun then returned fire and hit the suspect– the only person injured in the event.
“We are extremely grateful that nobody else was injured in this incident,” said Deputy Chief Todd Hutchinson in a statement. “This suspect opened fire at a crowded public park, this could have been so much worse.”
Dwight Harvey, the father of the event’s organizer, was streaming the event live and caught the crowd’s reaction to the gunplay, Florida Today reported. “I was like, who lit firecrackers? I turned around and just said, ‘Oh no, he’s got a gun, he’s got a gun,’” Harvey said.
Organizers of the event, billed as “Peace in the City” on social media, say there were about 150 people at the park, including lots of school-aged children in a bounce house, when the unidentified subject started shooting. The gathering advertised a kickball tournament and school supply giveaway among other youth-oriented attractions.
The initial shooter was airlifted to a local hospital with what are reported to be life-threatening injuries.
Florida had just under 2 million active concealed weapon licensees as of the end of July.