The Memorial Day weekend in the US has been marred by gunmen indiscriminately spraying bullets into crowds at two venues in Miami, Florida.
- Three people were killed and dozens injured in two Florida shootings on the weekend
- The Miami-Dade County police director said similar violence was happening every weekend
- The state’s Republican Governor said he was “praying for the recovery” of the victims but a Democratic senator demanded action to address gun violence
Two people were killed and at least 20 others were injured during a shooting outside a banquet hall early on Sunday morning.
It came about a day after a drive-by shooting nearby killed one person and injured six.
Authorities have called on the public to help identify the shooters.
“This type of gun violence has to stop. Every weekend it’s the same thing,” said Miami-Dade County police director Alfredo Ramirez III, whose officers were hunting down three suspects believed to have been involved in Sunday’s violence.
“These are cold-blooded murderers that shot indiscriminately into a crowd and we will seek justice,” he wrote on Twitter.
Two people died at the El Mula Banquet Hall in north-west Miami-Dade County, police said. As many as 25 people went to various hospitals for treatment.
Clayton Dillard and his family waited outside the venue hoping for news about a loved one they feared was among the dead.
As of Sunday afternoon, police had not released the names of the victims, whose bodies were yet to be removed from the scene more than 16 hours after the shots rang out outside the banquet hall, which had been rented out for a concert.
“I know he’s there,” Mr Dillard said, “but they won’t let me come claim him.”
Police said the gunfire began when three people got out of an SUV shortly after midnight and shot into the crowd with assault rifles and handguns.
Mr Ramirez said the shooting was targeted he but did not elaborate.
More than two dozen people crowded behind yellow police tape and a line of squad cars as police continued their investigation into Sunday evening.
Republican Governor Ron DeSantis said on Twitter he was “praying for the recovery” of the victims. He also pledged help from state authorities.
“We are working with local authorities to bring justice to the perpetrators. Justice needs to be swift & severe!” Mr DeSantis wrote.
Scene of drive-by shooting like a ‘war zone’
Sunday’s shooting came a little over a day after a drive-by shooting claimed the life of one person outside another venue about 21 kilometres away in the Wynwood area.
Six others were injured in the attack.
Some witnesses likened the scene to a “war zone” after dozens of bullets sent people running for cover.
Democratic state senator Shevrin Jones said he wanted Mr DeSantis to do more than just pray.
He called on the Governor to sit down with Democrats to discuss meaningful ways to address gun violence.
“Thoughts and prayers have been going on for years, and thoughts and prayers haven’t done a damn thing inside the black community, or any community, when it comes to gun violence,” Senator Jones said.
He said Republicans were reluctant to discuss the issue.
“Republicans don’t want to talk about guns,” he said.
“They think we’re trying to take their guns away from them.
“If their talking point is that guns are for protection, or that guns are for hunting, just know that that terminology is different in certain communities.
“Some of these individuals are using guns to murder. Some of these individuals are using guns to hunt people.”