The Phoenix Flyer

Gov. DeSantis called Broward sheriff following weekend death at Wilton Manors Gay Pride festival

By: - June 21, 2021 5:52 pm

File photo of rainbow flags with crowd In background during LGBT Pride Parade. Credit: Getty Images.

Gov. Ron DeSantis conferred with Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony regarding what police are calling an accident in which a pickup truck plowed into celebrants at a Gay Pride parade over the weekend in Wilton Manors.

One man was killed in the incident and another sustained serious but nonlife-threatening injuries, according to published reports. Both men, plus the 70-year-old driver, were members of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus.

“He called Sheriff Gregory Tony to get more information, because the preliminary reports from eyewitnesses were unclear as to whether it was an intentional attack or a terrible accident,” Christina Pushaw, the governor’s press secretary, said of DeSantis via email.

“The governor was concerned and wanted to get the facts on the ground. From all indications it appears this tragedy was an accident. We are mourning the loss of life and hoping for a full recovery for the injured.”

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis had initially declared the accident a terrorist act but reportedly later apologized for mischaracterizing it.

Wilton Manors is a noted gay neighborhood.

Jeffrey Sterling, CEO of the Stonewall Pride and Street Festival, issued a written statement on Facebook:

“We are devastated by the tragic accident on June 19 at the start of the Stonewall Pride Parade at the Fort Lauderdale High School involving members of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of the deceased, the other individuals involved, and the Chorus family. As we await the result of the police investigation, we ask the community to come together and pay tribute to the life lost so tragically.”

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Michael Moline
Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal. He began his career covering the Florida Capitol for United Press International. More recently, he wrote for Florida Politics.