For millions around the country, yesterday’s Fourth of July celebrations were filled with fireworks, barbeque, and spending time with friends, family, and loved ones. Unfortunately, one theme park attendee got more than he bargained for with his ticket purchase.
As reported by The Tampa Bay Times, 36-year-old Scott Deel was hit by a stray bullet while visiting Busch Gardens amusement park in Tampa, Florida. Deel was walking through the theme park at approximately 11:30 p.m. when he experienced a sudden pain in his left shoulder. His wife, who was with him at the time, noticed that he was bleeding.
Thankfully, the two were able to seek treatment at the park’s first aid facility. While seeking treatment, a police officer arrived and noticed what looked to be a bullet wound above Deel’s left shoulder blade. Deel was taken to a nearby hospital for further treatment. A report from said hospital states that no foreign matter was found lodged in his shoulder.
Local law enforcement is investigating the shooting, and say that the fired bullet came from behind, striking Deel at a downward angle. The shot most likely originated from somewhere outside the theme park and is thought to have been fired as part of 4th of July festivities.
Here's the first photo we're seeing of damage done by bullets that rained down near Busch Gardens last night as "celebratory gunfire" was shot in the air. One man at Busch Gardens was hit in the shoulder, two other bullets damaged property. Full story: https://t.co/WjzdB7bQAD pic.twitter.com/Fa3jeBdqeT— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) July 5, 2018
Busch Gardens responded to the incident, in a statement provided by spokesperson Karen Varga-Sinka.
“According to Tampa Police, a guest of the park was struck by a stray bullet fired from outside the park’s property following a 4th of July celebration. The guest was transported to Tampa General Hospital and is in stable condition. We are working closely with the Tampa Police Department on this incident as the safety of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s guests, team members and animals in our care is always our top priority.”
This is not the only instance of celebratory gunfire reported in the Tampa Bay area. Local resident Vonshay Cunningham was about to make a quick trip to the grocery store yesterday evening when she noticed a hole and multiple cracks in the windshield of her Kia Sol. Cunningham, a nursing tech at James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, immediately notified police of the situation. Cunningham’s car was parked just a few blocks away from Busch Gardens property.
Elaine Hunter, aged 61, returned to her apartment yesterday, only to find a hole in her ceiling, as well as the remains of a fired projectile on her bedroom floor. Hunter’s apartment is located less than two miles from Cunningham’s home.
Law enforcement has yet to make an arrest in connection with these shootings.