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Gunfire Erupts at 'Stop the Violence' Event, Leaving Two Hospitalized


More than 40 shots were fired at Saturday's rally.


Two people were shot while attending a “Stop the Violence” community event Saturday in Avon Park, Florida. One of the victims was only 5 years old.

The peaceful gathering was interrupted by gunfire at around 5:30 p.m., WTVT-TV reported. Police said a group of men near the park began firing shots for no apparent reason.

According to WTVT, those attending the event at Aline McWhite Park ran from the gunfire, but bullets struck the 5-year-old boy and a 20-year-old woman.

Both victims were sent to Florida Hospital Heartland with non-life-threatening injuries. Officials announced that the 5-year-old boy was released from the hospital, but as of Sunday, the woman was still hospitalized.

Highlands County Sheriff's Office told WTVT on Sunday that a suspect was in custody in connection with the shooting.

Investigators confirmed that 22-year-old Jaquarius Watson was charged with aggravated battery, firing a weapon in public, firing a weapon into a vehicle, property damage less than $200 and aggravated battery on a child.

WTVT's Aaron Mesmer reported Monday that more than 40 shots were fired at Saturday's rally, citing an decades-long "ongoing feud" between two groups as the cause.

Highlands County Sheriff's Office said more arrests are expected.

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