Clearwater Beach Shooting Shocks TouristsBy: Ellisha Rader Mannering - May 26, 2014
In the midst of the cookouts and pool parties that were taking place during Memorial Day weekend, there were also bouts of violence. On Monday evening, several shootings occurred in Clearwater Beach, Florida leading to several injuries and arrests.
Two people were shot and at least eight were taken into custody when the shootings broke out near the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa. The area was full of people who ran for cover when they heard the gunshots.
Police responded to the scene quickly and determined that the shootings were not random and occurred after a fight broke out between two groups of people. The first shooting occurred in the hotel’s parking garage and a second happened a few blocks away from the hotel. One person was shot in the hand and left the scene while another was transported to a nearby Tampa Bay hospital for treatment.
The hotel was placed on lockdown while police cleared the scene and a SWAT team arrived at around 9:45 p.m. Access to the beach was also closed during the investigation.
Joelle Castelli, a Clearwater spokeswoman, said that police handled the situation appropriately and in a timely manner.
Clearwater Beach is a popular tourist destination and the Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest times of year. Castelli insisted that the shootings were isolated incidents and that the beach area is safe for tourists and well-monitored by police.
“We have a lot of police presence on the beach, especially on the holiday weekend,” she said. “Safety is our No. 1 priority. I’d bring my family here tomorrow.”
Another popular tourist destination, Myrtle Beach, was also the location of two shootings over the weekend. Three people were killed at an oceanfront hotel and one other was injured.
Have these tourist destination shootings made you think twice about your vacation plans or do you think things like this are bound to happen in crowded areas?
Image via Wikimedia Commons