Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber and city manager Alina Gudak announced the emergency at an afternoon press conference. It includes a curfew in the South Beach area, which begins Thursday after midnight and lasts until the weekend.
The city commission will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the declaration, and Hudak said it plans to extend the curfew until next weekend.
Thousands of college students and other young people gather annually in Miami Beach for spring break, and this is the second year in a row that South Florida city authorities have declared a state of emergency at this famous party place.
The mayor said about 100 weapons had been confiscated in the past four weeks and several police officers had been injured while monitoring the crowd.
“We can’t take it anymore. We just can’t,” Gelber said. “It’s not your father’s or mother’s spring break. It’s something else entirely.”
Gelber noted that five people were shot dead last weekend, despite the fact that 371 police officers were deployed.
Three people were injured early Sunday on a street filled with spring lights in the South Beach neighborhood, police said. Two wounded at the scene were taken to hospital, and doctors at another hospital reported that a third person had arrived there with a gunshot wound. Everyone was expected to survive.
On Monday early Monday, officers patrolled about a block from the shooting site on Sunday morning when they heard gunshots, police said. Officers found two women with gunshot wounds. Police said their wounds were not life-threatening.
At the urging of some residents, city officials have been working in recent years to combat unruly behavior in South Beach. But efforts to stop excessive alcohol consumption and violence have raised complaints about racism, classicism and business practices.
More than 1,000 people were arrested last March when the city imposed a curfew at 8 p.m. At the time, authorities sent military-type vehicles to disperse predominantly black crowds with rubber bullets, sparking criticism from black activists.
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