MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Miami Beach officials imposed a curfew beginning Sunday night during spring break after two fatal shootings and rowdy, chaotic crowds that police have had difficulty controlling.
The city said in a news release the curfew would be from 11:59 p.m. Sunday, March 19 until 6 a.m. Monday, March 20, with an additional curfew likely to be put in place Thursday, March 23 through Monday, March 27. The curfew mainly affects South Beach, the most popular party location for spring breakers.
The release said the two separate shootings the night of Friday, March 17 and early Sunday that left two people dead and “excessively large and unruly crowds” led to the decision. The city commission plans a meeting Monday to discuss potential further restrictions next week.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said in a video message posted Sunday that the crowds and presence of numerous firearms has “created a peril that cannot go unchecked” despite massive police presence and many city-sponsored activities meant to keep people busy.
“We don’t ask for spring break in our city. We don’t want spring break in our city. It’s too rowdy, it’s too much disorder and it’s too difficult to police,” Gelber said.
The latest shooting happened about 3:30 a.m. Sunday on Ocean Drive in South Beach, according to Miami Beach police. A male was shot and died later at a hospital, and officers chased down a suspect on foot, police said on Twitter. Their identities were not released, nor were any possible charges.
In the Friday night shooting, one male victim was killed and another seriously injured, sending crowds scrambling in fear from restaurants and clubs into the streets as gunshots rang out. Police detained one person at the scene and found four firearms, but no other details have been made available.
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Under the curfew, people must leave businesses before midnight, although hotels can operate later only in service to their guests. The city release said restaurants can stay open only for delivery and the curfew won’t apply to residents, people going to and from work, emergency services and hotel guests. Some roads will be closed off and arriving hotel guests may have to show proof of their reservations.
Last year, the city imposed a midnight curfew following two shootings, also on Ocean Drive. The year before that, there were about 1,000 arrests and dozens of guns confiscated during a rowdy spring break that led Miami Beach officials to take steps aimed at calming the situation.