A suspect remained at large Sunday night after one person was killed and five other people were wounded in a shooting at a zombie-themed event in Florida, authorities said.
The dead man was identified as Expavious Tyrell Taylor, according to a statement by Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson. Four people were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and a fifth who was injured refused medical attention, authorities said.
The shooting happened about 11:44 p.m. Saturday in downtown Fort Myers at a “ZombiCon” event, Fort Myers police said.
“I heard four gunshots and saw the crowd 10 feet in front of me part and everyone turn and start running,” Desere Lee, a student at Florida Gulf State University who was at the event, told NBC News.
“We pray for all involved in this senseless act of violence,” the mayor said. “With the aid of alert citizens and cameras we remain confident in capturing and bringing to justice those who have attacked our citizens.”
The suspect remains at large, police said.
The organizers of the event, billed as “the largest gathering of zombies and those who love them in the state of Florida,” said they were “deeply saddened” by the violence. The annual festival had been expected to draw more than 20,000 fans in costume.
ZombiCon is a charity event at which participants dress up as zombies. It wasn’t clear whether the shooting involved participants of the event, but organizers said it occurred “within the footprint” of ZombiCon.
“We take the safety of our patrons very seriously and take precautions in hiring security and police officers for our annual event,” the organizers, Pushing DaiZies Inc., said in a statement posted to Facebook. “Our prayers go out to the family members and individuals involved in the incident.”
ZombiCon has been a popular event for nearly a decade, but some residents and business owners haven’t welcomed the crowd of costumed revelers in the street dressed as limping, bloated, degrading corpses.
One restaurant posted signs warning visitors that ZombiCon participants weren’t welcome.
“Quarantined. No Zombies allowed,” the signs read.
Several members of a religious group also picketed the event this weekend.