Two suspects arrested in Memorial Day shooting in Hollywood Beach
This story was updated on May 30, 2023 at 5:40 p.m.
Two teenagers were arrested and three other individuals are at large following a shooting in Hollywood that left nine people injured on Memorial Day, according to Hollywood police.
Arrested in connection with the mass shooting was Morgan Deslouches, 18, of Hollywood, and Keshwan Paul Stewart, 18, of Dania Beach. Police reported that each was charged with carrying a concealed firearm.
Police and witnesses said the shooting began as a group of people fought in front of a busy stretch of shops on the Hollywood Oceanfront Broadwalk about 7 p.m. Monday.
The sound of gunshots sent witness Alvie Carlton Scott III ducking for cover behind a tree before he fled on foot at the command of a police officer. Another witness, Jamie Ward, said several young men were fighting when one of them pulled a gun and started firing.
The shooting upended busy holiday weekend festivities at the popular beach destination where there was already a heavy police presence to oversee the big crowds.
Police spokesperson Deanna Bettineschi said four children between the ages of 1 and 17 were hit, along with five adults between 25 and 65. Victims were transported to Memorial Regional Hospital and Joe DiMaggio Childrens Hospital. Three of the nine victims have been treated and released from the hospital; six others remain at the hospital in stable condition. Their names have not been released.
Police said five handguns were recovered from the reported schooting scene. Two handguns were stolen. One was reported stolen from Texas, the other from Miami Dade. Police said they found a stolen handgun in one of the arrested suspect's bag.
Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy said that he was “deeply saddened and angered” by the shooting. Dozens of officers are assigned to the beach on busy holiday weekends and that meant there was an immediate response and multiple people were detained, Levy said in a statement.
“People come to enjoy a holiday weekend on the beach with their families and to have people in complete reckless disregard of the safety of the public and to have an altercation with guns in a public setting with thousands of people around them is beyond reckless,” he said. “The Hollywood Police Department will leave no stone unturned. We do not appreciate when people come into our city with guns and have an altercation in the midst of a public setting here.”
Videos posted on Twitter on Monday evening showed emergency medical crews responding and providing aid to multiple injured people.
The beach was expected to see more visitors than usual because of the Memorial Day holiday.
Gun violence prevention activists blame such shootings on Florida’s loose gun laws.
“If we enacted safer gun laws, the reality is that the gun deaths and amount of people who suffer injuries from gun violence would go down,” said Angelica Repaci, a volunteer with Students Demand Action.
The group was formed following the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that left 17 people killed and 17 injured in one of the nation’s worst school shootings.
Governor Ron DeSantis last month signed permitless carry legislation into law. It goes into effect on July 1.
The new law will allow anyone who can legally own a gun in Florida to carry one without a permit. It means training and a background check will not be required to carry concealed guns in public.
Most Floridians are against the new law, according to the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab poll of 1,492 Floridians. It found that 77 percent opposed the permitless carry proposal.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Hollywood Police investigators, in a statement, reported that surveillance video showed those believed to be involved in the shooting and is seeking the community to help identify those pictured in the videos.
If anyone has information, they can contact the Hollywood Police Department at 954-764-4357(HELP) or 954-967-4567. Tipsters can e-mail or text to email@example.com. Information can also be given to Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477(TIPS) or browardcrimestoppers.org.