SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. - The Sumter County Sheriff's Office said that one person was killed and nine others were injured after a shooting at a Father's Day event in Wildwood on Sunday.
"This senseless incident occurred when two people from the Tampa area came upon each other on country road 235," Chief Deputy Haworth said. "Our suspect brandished a firearm and started shooting at the other person."
He said that deputies responded and were able to identify the suspect and apprehend him. The suspect was identified as Raphael Thomas, 22, from Tampa.
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He confirmed that there were ten victims of the shooting. They were all transported to the hospital and one of them passed away, a 25-year-old from the Tampa Bay area. One other victim is in the ICU. Others are in stable condition or already checked out of the hospital.
FOX 35 visited the scene on Monday morning as law enforcement continued their investigation. There was trash littered around the crime scene, evidence markers on the ground, and investigators were using metal detectors to search for evidence.
The Father's Day event held has been taking place over 50 years now, Larry Lawson, a nearby neighbor, said. He explained that while he did not attend the event, he saw about a couple of thousand people in the area. He does want to see the event canceled but rather more security in the future.
"It’s the generation. They need to control it down. Everybody come in, they should get searched to see if they got a weapon on them." Lawson said. "Back in the day, it was the people in the area. Had kids running around play[ing], park be wide open, children be playing softball, all that been cut out."
"We’re very thankful none of our deputies were injured, nor were any children that were attending the event," Chief Deputy Haworth added. "Although this was a tragic incident, it did display the best of law enforcement."
This is still an active investigation, please contact Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS if you have information that could help law enforcement.
FOX 35 is at the scene and working to obtain more details.