A reckless driver turned what was intended to be a merry closing party for Pride Fort Lauderdale into a ghost town.
Fort Lauderdale police closed a large section of Southwest Second Street on Sunday evening after a man drove his vehicle into a crowd of people in front of the Himmarshee Public House. The area was then restricted as authorities began an investigation.
“Our party turned into a crime scene,” said Bryan Wilson, a Pride Fort Lauderdale board member.
The Himmarshee Village, an area west of downtown Fort Lauderdale, was scheduled to host closing festivities for Pride Fort Lauderdale. Those festivities included a musical performances by rock band Wilton Drive and national recording artist Steve Grand. Proceeds were to benefit SunServe, a South Florida LGBT social services agency.
The plan, Wilson said, was deterred when a man, identified by police as 36-year-old Sheldon Alexander Adderly, drove a Volkswagen Jetta into harm’s way. Police were forced to shoot the vehicle’s tires at which point the suspect leapt from the car and fled.
Cell phone video captured the entire scene as Adderly ran from police only to trip and fall on the pavement just east of the railroad tracks where he was apprehended.
As authorities searched for clues as to why the driver behaved in such a manner their investigation pushed partygoers in another direction.
“It’s a major disappointment,” Wilson said. “We were hoping to mobilize the LGBT community outside of our traditional comfort zones and gayborhoods.”
Grand eventually took the stage at America’s Backyard later in the evening, but attendance was sparse.
“We had people calling saying that they couldn’t get through,” Wilson said.
In light of this series of unfortunate events, Wilson, director of SunServe’s marketing and training programs, is asking community members to step up and make a donation to the organization at SunServe.org.
Meanwhile, Fort Lauderdale police are treating the incident internally and as of press time Tuesday, Adderly remained in a local hospital.