Crime & Justice

Police identify, seek suspect in deadly MLK Day mass shooting

Miami, Jan 18 (EFE).- Police announced Wednesday that they have identified and are seeking a 27-year-old suspected gunman in the mass shooting in Fort Pierce, Florida, in which one person was killed and about 10 others were injured at a Martin Luther King Day parade.

African American Frederick Johnson Jr., for whom there is a standing arrest order for an unrelated parole violation, is being sought by law enforcement, Chief Deputy Brian Hester with the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Department told local media.

“We have active warrants in the system, and we believe that this person was present during the incident,” Hester said, adding that authorities had determined that the shooting was not a confrontation between rival gangs but rather “stemmed from a dispute” between two or more people, some of whom are indeed gang members.

Nikkitia Bryant, 29, who had been seriously wounded in the Monday shootout in the Florida east coast city, died on Tuesday at a local hospital.

Seven other people were wounded by gunfire and several others were injured in the tumult that erupted after the shots rang out at Ilous Ellis Park in Fort Pierce, where about 1,000 people had gathered on Monday to watch the parade.

Hester said Tuesday that police at the scene recovered about 50 shell casings from weapons of three different calibers.

St. Lucie Sheriff Ken Mascara said that “it’s really sad” that the incident occurred at a celebration of Martin Luther King Day.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a leader in the civil rights and racial equality movement, was born 94 years ago and assassinated on April 4, 1968.

The incident is the 30th mass shooting in the US so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive organization, which defines a mass shooting as one in which four or more people are shot, not including the shooter.

The figure provided by the organization at this point in the year averages out to be just under two mass shootings per day in the US.

EFE –/bp

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