Police describe suspect, seek clues after ZombiCon shooting - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Police describe suspect, seek clues after ZombiCon shooting

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -- Police on Monday gave a description of the suspect in the weekend shooting at a ZombiCon event in Florida.

Fort Myers police are looking for a white or possibly Hispanic male in his late teens or early 20s who was wearing a black T-shirt and a flat-billed black and red ball cap. Police say he was seen firing a black semi-automatic handgun.

Police also said they had received a video of the ZombiCon event and that they are scrutinizing it heavily.

The video shows people dressed up as zombies, with fake blood and makeup, walking around downtown before four gunshots ring out. People scream when they hear the gunfire and start running in all directions.

When the gunshots rang out, Jill Stancel watched as a crowd of face painted, fake blood-spattered ZombiCon revelers ran through the streets in terror. She quickly gathered her family and several passing strangers inside her family's barbershop and locked the door.

"I was right here," Stancel said of the shooting in downtown Fort Myers, Florida, that left one dead and five injured. "A mass of people ran screaming and trying to get in the shop."

Saturday's chaotic scene sent throngs of crowd goers running through the streets. The shooting happened around 11:45 p.m., just 15 minutes before the event officially ended. Large crowds were still in the streets and authorities quickly cleared out nearby bars and set up crime scene tape, while others patrolled the area with rifles searching for a suspect.

Fort Myers Police Lt. Victor Medico said Expavious Tyrell Taylor, 20, who graduated from Clewiston High School and played football at a junior college in Miami, died at the scene.   The New-Press of Fort Myers reports that Taylor's aunt and a grandmother live in Okeechobee, Fla.

No other details about his death were released Sunday.  

Four others were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries and one additional victim refused medical attention, authorities said.

Authorities said the suspect or suspects were still at large and did not release any information about a possible motive. They were reviewing surveillance videos from nearby restaurants and shops in search of clues.

"There were a lot of witnesses down here, there were a lot of people taking pictures, videos with their cellphone," Medico told the News-Press. "Anything that could help with this investigation would be greatly appreciated."

Police did not immediately return email and phone call messages on Sunday seeking more details. Medico told reporters the agency had been inundated with national media requests and would not be making any comments "as we tirelessly investigate this incident and gather as many facts as possible."

The annual festival had been expected to draw more than 20,000 fans dressed as zombies, the newspaper said. Medico said the scene was described as "shoulder to shoulder."

A statement on the ZombiCon Facebook page said organizers were saddened by the news and the group takes the safety of its patrons very seriously.

ZombiCon has been a popular event for nearly a decade, but some local residents and business owners have not welcomed the crowd of costumed revelers in the street dressed as limping, bloated, degrading corpses. One restaurant posted signs warning visitors that ZombiCon participants were not welcome. "Quarantined. No Zombies allowed," the signs read.

Several members from a religious group also picketed the event this weekend.

Mayor Randall P. Henderson Jr. said the shooting would speed up plans to install security cameras throughout downtown. The ZombiCon shooting is the latest of several shootings, which the mayor said are difficult to prevent because they are often random and late at night. Yet he said the cameras would make it easier to catch criminals quickly.

"Sadly, we're moving in that direction. We need to be way more vigilant to keep citizens safe," he said.

Copyright 2015 Scripps Media, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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