MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Miami Beach officials have imposed a curfew starting Sunday night over spring break after two deadly shootings and rowdy, chaotic crowds that police have had a hard time controlling.
The city said in a press release that the curfew will be from 11:59 pm Sunday through 6 am Monday, with an additional curfew likely to be introduced from Thursday through next Monday, March 27. The curfew primarily affects South Beach, the most popular spring break party spot.
The release said two separate shootings Friday night and early Sunday that left two people dead and “excessively large and unruly crowds” led to the decision. The city commission is scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss potential further restrictions next week.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said in a video message released Sunday that the crowds and the presence of numerous firearms had “created a danger that cannot go unchecked” despite the heavy police presence and many city-sponsored activities to keep people busy.
“We don’t ask for spring break in our town. We don’t want spring break in our town. It’s too rowdy, it’s too messy and it’s too difficult to police,” Gelber said.
The latest shooting occurred around 3:30 a.m. Sunday on Ocean Drive in South Beach, according to Miami Beach Police. A man was shot and died later in a hospital, and officers chased a suspect on foot, police said on Twitter. Their identities have not been released, nor have any charges been made.
In Friday night’s shooting, one male victim was killed and another seriously injured, sending fear-stricken crowds rushing from restaurants and clubs into the streets as gunfire rang out. Police arrested one person at the scene and found four firearms, but no further details were released.
Under the curfew, people are required to leave businesses before midnight, even though hotels are allowed to operate later just to serve their guests. The city’s release said restaurants can remain open for delivery only and the curfew will not apply to residents, people commuting to and from work, emergency services and hotel guests. Some roads will be closed and arriving hotel guests may need to show proof of their booking.
Last year, the city imposed a midnight curfew after two shootings, also on Ocean Drive. The year before, there were nearly 1,000 arrests and dozens of weapons seized during a turbulent spring break that led Miami Beach officials to take steps to calm the situation.