8 people shot during MLK Day celebration at Miami park

MIAMI — Gunfire erupted Monday afternoon in a Northwest Miami-Dade park, marring the end of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade and celebrations in Liberty City.

Eight people — three adults and five 17 and under — were shot and several more were injured during the stampede to get out of Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, according to police. The shooting took place around 4 p.m., about two hours after the parade finished. Families had gathered in the park for a post-parade celebration.

Among the injured, according to police: an 18-year-old woman and 30-year-old man in stable condition, a 20-year-old man in critical condition and three minors taken to the hospital. Additionally two minors were grazed by bullets and treated and released at the scene.

The park was evacuated as detectives investigated. Two people have been detained for questioning, police said. Two weapons were also recovered.

“The nature of the shooting, we don’t have information on that right now,” Miami-Dade Detective Marjorie Eloi said. “We don’t know how serious the injuries are. There was no gun exchange on our part.”

Relatives and friends gathered at Jackson Memorial Hospital seeking updates on the conditions of some of the victims.

Shante Kelsey, the mother of 18-year-old victim Shawnteria Wilson, said she got separated from her daughter as the parade went on. As she made her way to Northwest 22nd Avenue, she got word that her daughter had been shot. She was critical of the police response and said they were slow in reacting to the incident.

“They’re supposed to be there to serve and protect, and I felt like nobody was there to help my daughter,” Kelsey said.

Wilson is in stable condition, she said.

Juan Perez, Miami-Dade police director, took to Twitter to voice his frustration over the shooting.

“@MiamiDadePD shameful closing to the MLK Parade,” he wrote. “Certainly not what the followers of Dr. King Jr. want out of our community.”

The Miami parade has been a tradition since the 1970s and attracts local bands, politicians and families celebrating the memory of King, the civil rights leader who was assassinated in 1968.

Terrell Dandy was also in the park and heard three gunshots. He said that things were peaceful at the parade before the shots were fired.

“It was good until you had these idiots out there shooting,” Dandy said. “It was just a bunch of commotion.”

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