MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Officials with the City of Miami Beach have declared a state of emergency after a weekend that included shootings and overwhelming spring break crowds in South Beach’s entertainment district.
“We intend to declare a public emergency effective this Thursday,” said Miami Beach City manager Alina T. Hudak.
Mayor Dan Gelber, alongside city commissioners, made the official announcement around 4 p.m. outside Miami Beach City Hall.
“If you want to see what a very frustrated and angry mayor looks like, you’re looking at him,” said Gelber. “Our city is well past its endpoint. We can’t endure this anymore.”
Gelber also announced new measures related to crowd control for the remainder of the spring break period.
“It’s going to implement a midnight curfew, beginning Wednesday night, Thursday morning, at 12:01 a.m., going through the weekend,” said Gelber. “This isn’t your mother and father’s spring break. This is something wholly different.”
The curfew will run from midnight through 6 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The curfew will be implemented in the area south of 23rd Street down to South Pointe Drive, from the Atlantic Ocean to Biscayne Bay.
“What I saw this year made me look at it and almost cringe. You see that gunfire was almost 10 feet from an officer who was on an ATV, to dive off the ATV and get behind it, because he didn’t know where the gunfire was coming from. That’s a problem,” said Miami Beach Police Chief Richard M. Clements. “We have to do something.”
Ocean Drive and Seventh Street has been the general area where the most recent shooting happened overnight, inspiring that curfew call. Although the question remains if anything will change.
When asked what he would say to people who say they’ve heard this year after year, it’s a reactionary move by the city and the police department yet nothing changes, the mayor responded, “We haven’t been able to figure out how to stop spring break from coming. I say that all the time. We don’t want spring break here, but they keep coming.”
He continued by saying, “It’s very hard to deter idiots and criminals from doing things.”
Since the start of spring break, at least five people have been shot on Ocean Drive.
Nine police officers were also hurt during the spring break period. The department said none of the injuries were serious and none of the officers were shot.
Officers confiscated more than 100 guns over the last few weeks.
“When I come right here I hear gunshots. I see smoke coming off those bricks,” said Miami local Lo Mills.
A bullet mark left a scar on a South Beach hotel from an early morning shooting near Ocean Drive and Seventh. That is where Miami Beach police said two women were shot.
“I pull out my gun. I’m thinking he’s going to shoot me, so when I see that he isn’t, I let him go,” said Mills.
Police found and arrested Derrick Mitchell for that shooting.
The arrest affidavit said he spontaneously told police, “I only shot because they shot at me first.”
“We didn’t expect this,” said Tamika Williams, tourist visiting from Texas.
Williams told 7News she could hear the gunshots from her hotel room.
“I heard a couple of pows, but it was an ongoing ‘pow pow pow,’ then you heard all the screaming everyone saying, ‘Run!'” said Williams.
Gunshots were also fired early Sunday morning, near Ocean Drive and Eighth Street, which sent a stampede of people running and ducking behind cars.
Three people were hurt in that shooting.
“I was sitting on Ocean, and we got tumbled by a stampede, and they were shooting like, three times in the same hour. It was crazy,” said Cash, a tourist visiting from Boston.
The Miami Beach Fraternal Order of Police tweeted out a video Sunday and said four officers were hurt in the chaos over the weekend.
The FOP said its officers are exhausted, and the party needs to end, calling on city officials to take action to ensure safety.
The weekend chaos has now made some people reconsider their next visit.
“Ocean Drive, I don’t feel safe. Once it hits 6 o’clock I’m outta there,” said Cash.
“It was just a shock to hear gunshots and all the commotion outside the window,” said Williams.
At 4 p.m. on Tuesday, a special commission meeting will be held to discuss the state of emergency declaration and if the curfew will also be in place next weekend.
Miami Beach Police are looking for a second suspect involved in the shooting that occurred early Monday morning.
If you have any information on this shooting, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.
Copyright 2022 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.