By Eric Rogers, Florida Today
Though it was called “Peace in the City,” a back to school giveaway Saturday afternoon in Titusville was anything but.
The gunman at a crowded community rally was critically wounded by a bystander who was lawfully carrying a firearm at the event, Titusville police said in a press release.
(A man who opened fire during a “Peace for the City” rally at a park was shot by a bystander, police said. Courtesy of WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando and YouTube. Posted on Aug 4, 2018.)
The shooting happened just after 5 p.m. at the “Peace in the City” rally and back-to-school event at Isaac Campbell Park in the 700 block of South Street.
The suspect, who police have not identified, got into a fistfight with another person earlier in the day and returned to the park with a gun, police said. The bystander returned fire after the suspect began shooting, striking the suspect in the head.
The suspect was airlifted to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries, officials said. No other injuries were reported.
The bystander has fully cooperated with police and is not expected to face charges, police said.
Isaac Campbell Park shooting scene secure. One male victim airlifted to local hospital with life-threatening injuries. Titusville Police Detectives on scene conducting ongoing active investigation. pic.twitter.com/ytDfB5AVfd
— Titusville Police FL (@TitusvillePD) August 4, 2018
“We are extremely grateful that nobody else was injured in this incident,” Titusville Deputy Chief Todd Hutchinson said in a statement.
“This suspect opened fire at a crowded public park, this could have been so much worse.”
Titusville police, assisted by Brevard County Sheriff’s deputies, responded about 5:20 p.m. to the Campbell Community Center on South Street, following reports of shots fired in the park behind the center.
The shooting occurred during the “Peace in the City” back-to-school event, where organizers were handing out school supplies.
About 150 people, including dozens of children, were still gathered when shots rang out, witnesses told FLORIDA TODAY.
A flyer for the event, posted on social media, proclaimed “A day of fun, no violence!”
Dwight Harvey, of Titusville, who was live-streaming the event when the shooting started, captured the chaotic scene as about 12 shots rang out in rapid succession, sending people scattering.
Children were still leaving the bounce house as the shooter fled the scene, Harvey said. The suspect collapsed moments later in the parking lot of the park.
“There were kids in the path of those bullets. Thank God none of the kids got hit,” Harvey said.
“To have this happen at an event for the kids, at the ‘Peace in the City’ rally, is just crazy to me. It’s unbelievable. It hurts. It hurts.”
The condition of the shooter was unknown late Saturday. The investigation remains active, police said.