Scores detained, dozens of guns seized in Florida amid spring break violence
Florida authorities said they have detained hundreds of people and seized dozens of firearms amid a string of spring break-related violent crimes in the state, reported local station WMBB, which is owned by The Hill parent company Nexstar.
Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford told the local station that responding officers and deputies have arrested 161 people and 75 firearms were seized over the weekend.
Panama City Beach Police Chief J.R. Talamantez said authorities had to shut down a local Walmart due to rowdy spring break guests trashing the store, knocking down aisles of products including hats, sunscreen and other merchandise.
Talamantez also said that a reported shooting on Front Beach Road left one person suffering a gunshot wound in his foot, with authorities arresting three suspects with firearms on them, according to WMBB.
“I personally encountered an individual holding an AR-15 who is now in custody,” Talamantez said.
Local residents and visitors also said that the massive crowd has made it hard for others to walk around the city, with authorities already patrolling the area, WMBB reported.
“We were getting run over by people,” said visitor Ladariya Gurley. “They were pushing us.”
Law enforcement spokespeople said Sunday the individuals detained and found with weapons by authorities do not represent the spring break tourists visiting the area, saying the suspects were trying to take advantage of the massive crowds to commit crimes.
In a press conference on Sunday, law enforcement officials stated that the crimes committed over the weekend were unacceptable, WMBB noted.
“What we saw this past weekend is absolutely unacceptable. Period,” Talamantez said. “The crowd that has been here this weekend, there is no words that can describe the way they have behaved themselves, conducted themselves, and the amount of laws they have broken.”
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