One person has died after two revellers at a Pride parade were run over by a truck.
The mayor of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, has called the incident a “terrorist attack against the LGBTQ+ community”, but this has been refuted by a prominent leader of a local gay group.
Witnesses to the crash on Saturday including members of a local Gay Men’s Chorus, maintain that the deadly collision was in fact an accident and police are investigating.
The victims were rushed to Broward Health Medical Center, where one died from their injuries and the other remains in a critical condition.
Justin Knight, leader of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus, is adamant the collision was not deliberate.
He said in a statement: “To my knowledge, it was an accident. This was not an attack on the LGBTQ community.”
“We anticipate more details to follow and ask for the community’s love and support.”
The driver was taken into custody after narrowly missing colliding with US Representative for Florida’s 23rd congressional district Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s vehicle.
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Police have not released details of any charges against the individual or speculated a potential motive, who is said to have told officers the crash was accidental.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told Local 10 News: “This is a terrorist attack against the LGBT community.”
“This is exactly what it is. Hardly an accident. It was deliberate, it was premeditated, and it was targeted against a specific person. Luckily they missed that person, but unfortunately, they hit two other people.”
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Mayor Trantalis said a third person was injured but in stable condition.
Congresswoman Wasserman Shultz said in a statement that she was safe but “deeply shaken and devastated that a life was lost.”
“I am so heartbroken by what took place at this celebration,” she said. “May the memory of the life lost be for a blessing.”
A witness to the incident told The South Florida Sun-Sentinal she believed the crash was deliberate.
Onlooker Christina Currie said: “All of a sudden there was a loud revving of a truck and a crash through a fence.
“It was definitely an intentional act right across the lanes of traffic.”
The Wilton Manors Police Department announced that the Parade had then been cancelled.
They tweeted: “Due to a tragic event, the Stonewall Pride Parade has been canceled but the festival events will continue.”
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