Security company’s services canceled before MLK event where shooting occurred

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 12:37 AM EST
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A Martin Luther King Day Jr. Day event in Fort Pierce was supposed to have private security, according to county permits, but organizers canceled it without warning deputies, the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office said.

“The night before the event I get a message saying 'you know what, we’re not going to require your services. Maybe we can use you for another event,' I said 'I’m sorry?' ” said Edmundo Moreno with Elite Tactical Solutions.

Moreno told WFLX they were hired by Be Xquisit as private security for the event.

“How are you going to cancel security the night before the event. There’s no way for you to get a replacement," Moreno said.

Moreno says his security detail was set to provide the event with four officers and two patrol cars.

"They canceled their private security the night before the event and no one provided that information to our agency," St. Lucie County Chief Deputy Brian Hester said. "We were all under the assumption that there was private armed security that was working this event."

Hester says two deputies were stationed to help with traffic patrol.

“This could’ve been prevented, absolutely prevented, and even if it occurred if there was enough people out there you could’ve saved some lives and got the shooter,” Moreno said.

The event was put together through a collaboration of local organizations, including James Mond with the group “Give Back to the Kids”

"It's just a loss all the way around and this is not who we are as a community, this is not what's supposed to happen," Mond said.

He says each group was assigned different tasks. His was to hire the two St. Lucie County deputies who were at the event.

“We feel like the deputies reacted the way they were supposed to. I mean they ran to the fire, and they reacted immediately," Mond said.

He doesn’t know why Be Xquisit canceled the private security for the event, but hopes the community can find closure, and grow stronger.

“You do our job, and everybody else was supposed to do their job, and if they don’t do their job they need to answer for what they need to do," Mond said.

WFLX has reached out to Be Xquisit and left a message but have not yet heard back.

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