A van driver slammed into spectators during a Florida Pride parade on Saturday night – narrowly missing U.S. Representative Deborah Wasserman Schultz and leaving at least one person dead, according to reports.
At least one other person was seriously injured, according to reports.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis quickly denounced the accident at Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride Parade as a “terrorist” attack on the LGBTQ community, but police said they had not determined whether the accident was intentional, reported the Sun-Sentinel of South Florida.
Trantalis said the truck missed the MP “a few inches” before crashing into a nursery, WPLG-TV in Fort Lauderdale reported.
Investigators were speaking with the driver, who was in custody but authorities would not say if he had been arrested, the Fort Lauderdale Police Detective. Ali Adamson told reporters.
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Witnesses said the driver told police the crash was an accident, according to WPLG-TV in Fort Lauderdale. He allegedly wore a gay men’s choir t-shirt. He told investigators he lost control of the truck after his foot got stuck between the accelerator and the brake, according to WFOR-TV in Miami.
The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus later issued a statement: “Our other Chorus members were the ones who were injured and the conductor was also part of the Chorus family. To my knowledge it was not an attack. against the LGBTQ community. ”
Authorities said one of the victims later died. The other victim was hospitalized.
The driver had walked the parade route and then suddenly sped up into the crowd, Trantalis told WSVN-TV of Fort Lauderdale that
Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Florida who has served in Congress since 2005, then posted a series of statements on Twitter.
“I am deeply shaken and devastated that a life was lost and others seriously injured during tonight’s @WiltonManorsCty Stonewall #Pride Parade,” the congresswoman wrote in a message. “Fortunately, my staff, volunteers and I are safe. “
The truck narrowly missed Wasserman Schultz, according to WPLG. She was seen by witnesses in tears after the crash.
Nikki Fried, Florida’s agricultural commissioner and gubernatorial candidate, was also in attendance. “Our hearts are breaking and we continue to pray that more innocent lives are not lost,” she tweeted.
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Wilton Manors Mayor Scott Newton said in a statement on Twitter: “A tragic incident occurred at the Stonewall event today. Out of respect for all involved, the parade has been canceled. and a full investigation is underway. ”
The FBI is participating in the investigation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.