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Miami Beach implements midnight curfew for spring breakers after two fatal shootings

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Authorities in Miami Beach imposed a curfew Sunday night in an attempt to control rowdy, chaotic spring break crowds after two fatal shootings over the weekend.

The curfew mainly impacts South Beach, a popular destination for spring breakers, and will run from 11:59 p.m. Sunday until 6 a.m. Monday, the city said in a news release. An additional curfew will likely be implemented Thursday through next Monday, March 27.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said Sunday that numerous people visiting the area have brought multiple firearms with them and have “created a peril that cannot go unchecked.”

“Despite unprecedented police presence, for two consecutive nights, Ocean Drive has been the scene of deadly shootings. So, tonight, Sunday March 19, we will be implementing a midnight curfew for South Beach as part of our emergency powers. In addition to a midnight curfew, the sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption will be prohibited in the curfew area after 6:00 p.m. tonight,” Gelber added.

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Crowds gather at Ocean Drive and 8th during spring break on Saturday, March 18, 2023, in Miami Beach, Fla. 

Crowds gather at Ocean Drive and 8th during spring break on Saturday, March 18, 2023, in Miami Beach, Fla.  (D.A. Varela/Miami Herald via AP)

The city said the curfew is an attempt to prevent rowdiness from “excessively large and unruly crowds” and comes after two separate shootings Friday night and early Sunday that left two people dead.

The city commission is planning to convene Monday to discuss further restrictions.

“We don’t ask for spring break in our city. We don’t want spring break in our city. It’s too rowdy, it’s too much disorder, and it’s too difficult to police,” Gelber said in a video posted Sunday.

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Under the curfew, people visiting the area must leave most businesses before midnight, but the curfew won’t apply to residents, people going to and from work, or emergency services.

Crowds walk up and down Ocean Drive during spring break on Saturday, March 18, 2023, in Miami Beach, Fla. 

Crowds walk up and down Ocean Drive during spring break on Saturday, March 18, 2023, in Miami Beach, Fla.  (D.A. Varela/Miami Herald via AP)

The city’s release said restaurants can also stay open only for delivery and hotel are able to remain open to serve their guests. In addition, some roads will be closed off for the curfew and hotel guests who arrive during that time may have to show proof of their reservations.

Two shootings in the overnight hours Friday and Sunday prompted the city to take action.

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One male victim was fatally shot on Friday night and another was seriously injured. The gunshots caused crowds to flee from restaurants and clubs into the streets.

Police arrested one person at the scene. Authorities also found four firearms.

Crowds walk up and down Ocean Drive during spring break on Saturday, March 18, 2023, in Miami Beach, Fla. 

Crowds walk up and down Ocean Drive during spring break on Saturday, March 18, 2023, in Miami Beach, Fla.  (D.A. Varela/Miami Herald via AP)

At approximately 3:30 a.m. Sunday, another shooting took place on Ocean Drive in South Beach, according to Miami Beach police.

A male was shot and died later at a hospital, and officers chased down a suspect on foot, police said on Twitter.

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Crowds walk up and down Ocean Drive during spring break on Saturday, March 18, 2023, in Miami Beach, Fla. 

Crowds walk up and down Ocean Drive during spring break on Saturday, March 18, 2023, in Miami Beach, Fla.  (D.A. Varela/Miami Herald via AP)

In 2022, the city similarly imposed a midnight curfew following two shootings, also on Ocean Drive. In 2021, there were about 1,000 arrests and dozens of guns confiscated as Miami Beach officials were forced to take steps to calm rowdy spring breakers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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