The Fort Myers police department may have a description of the shooter from the ZombiCon shooting. According to CNN, police have a “sparse description” of the shooter, although no suspects have been identified. The ZombiCon shooting, which happened around 11:45 p.m., left one person dead and five others injured.
The gunman is believed to be white or Hispanic and in his late teens or early 20s. At the time of the ZombiCon shooting, he was wearing “a black T-shirt and a flat-billed black-and-red cap,” police said.
According to Fox News, the shooter opened fire toward the end of ZombiCon, causing chaos and panic among the packed crowd. It remains unclear as to whether the victims of the shooting were targeted, or if the gunman shot into the crowd randomly.
Police said they received the description through tips and leads from the public. Witnesses also told police the shooter used a black semiautomatic handgun before fleeing west toward the federal courthouse. NBC affiliate WBBH reports witnesses heard eight to 10 shots during the ZombiCon shooting.
One witness spoke to WBBH anonymously and claimed he was able to get a good look at the gunman.
“It felt like something you would see in a movie, and this was definitely a horror movie,” the witness said.
Police remain cautious about identifying the ZombiCon shooter, USA Today reports.
“Please also keep in mind many event attendees carried toy/replica weapons like the subject seen in the video,” said Lt. Victor Medico, Fort Myers police spokesman. “We are looking into this person, but he is not believed to be our shooter at this time.”
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) October 18, 2015
ZombiCon, the zombie-themed art and music festival which was held in downtown Fort Myers, Florida, last Saturday, is described by festival organizers as “the largest gathering of zombies and those who love them in the state of Florida.”
Held every year on the third Saturday of October, ZombiCon features bands and DJs playing for the crowd. Police said the festival draws around 20,000 attendees. ZombiCon has been a popular event for the last decade, Fox News reports.
On the Facebook page for ZombiCon, festival organizers posted they were “deeply saddened by the news of what happened within the footprint of our event.”
“We take the safety of our patrons very seriously and take precautions in hiring security and police officers for our annual event. Our prayers go out to the family members and individuals involved in the incident.”
The zombie festival organizers also posted a message asking for the public’s help in identifying the shooter.
“We are asking your assistance. PLEASE, if anyone has any info regarding the tragedy that occurred (photos, videos, etc.) please contact the Fort Myers Police Department: 800-780-8477 or go to SWFLCRIMESTOPPERS.ORG. Please help if you’re able! Thank you, from your friends at pushingdaizies.org.”
NBC reports that on Monday, Fort Myers police chief Dennis Eads said searching for the shooter has been a “nightmare.” Many at ZombiCon were carrying fake guns as part of their costumes, so immediately after the shooting, it was difficult to tell the difference from a real weapon and ones that were fake.
“It was definitely, at the very minimal, be a nightmare,” Eads said. “Especially after shots were fired. At that point then you had 15 or 20,000 suspects.”
Eads, however, said he hopes ZombiCon can continue in the future and also expressed his belief that the suspect will be found with the hope to arrest the shooter soon.
“I’m very confident that we will find out who did this,” he said.
The police department obtained a YouTube video of the ZombiCon shooting on Monday and released it. The video showed the downtown area packed with people, music thumping, and when a person dressed as a grim reaper stops to pose for a photo, shots can be heard in the background.
Chief Eads said social media is helping in the search for the shooter. “Just provide us with information so we can follow up on it,” he said.
As mentioned before, ZombiCon may be facing several changes in the future. Fake weapons could end up being banned from the event. One of the business owners in the area where ZombiCon is held, Michael Hilsee, wants to see changes if the festival is going to be held again next year.
Hilsee said there needs to be more security and cameras and thinks too many people are crowded into a small area. He believes there should be a maximum capacity.
“ZombiCon is just a drunk fest. If you’re not serving alcohol and food to them, they don’t want to be in. All they want to do [is] use your restrooms and start stealing all of your merchandise,” Hilsee said.
Expavious Tyrell Taylor, of Okeechobee, was killed at the ZombiCon shooting and had recently celebrated his 20th birthday. Taylor had suffered several losses of close family members, especially within the last two years. At the age of eight, his father died. Two years ago he lost his mother, last year he lost his young son, and shortly after, his grandmother died, according to NBC affiliate WBBH.
Fort Myers police also released the names of the injured victims from the ZombiCon shooting–Tyree Hunter, 20, of Fort Myers; David Perez, 22, of Naples; Isaiah Knight, 18, of Fort Myers; and Kyle Roberts, 20, of Port Charlotte. The fifth injured victim in the shooting was not named and refused medical treatment.
The hunt continues for the ZombiCon shooting suspect.
[Image via Twitter]