Five people shot at large gathering at Avon Park intersection

Two victims are in critical condition
Posted at 10:10 AM, May 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-15 05:59:28-04

Five people are recovering after being shot in the middle of an Avon Park street early Sunday morning.

The Avon Park neighborhood where it happened was quiet Mother's Day afternoon. But early Sunday, it was a much different scene at the corner of Delaney St. and Hal Mcrae Ave.  Ezell Jackson says his dad woke up to the sound of gunshots.

"He said, 'Man!  THey was shooting here last night and stuff.  It had me a little scared,'" Jackson said.

Several gunshots were fired at the intersection around 3 a.m. Sunday.  Deputies say potential witnesses scrambled, getting in their cars and driving away as they arrived.  Five people went to area hospitals.  A 21-year-old man and 17-year-old girl were critically injured.  Another 21-year-old man, 19-year-old woman and 21-year-old woman, were also treated for gunshot wounds.

"It's very concerning," said Jackson.

Neighbors say the street corner's been a problem for years, with frequent big crowds, loud noise and fighting.

Exactly one year ago, another shooting happened on the block at a 'Stop the Violence' picnic, with a five-year-old boy and 20-year-old woman caught in the crossfire.  Now, many here are begging for more regular patrols.

"Police should have more concern with these people.  Who's going to hang out all night?  What is there to do? Ain't nothing to do but get into trouble," said Jackson.

Right now, deputies are focused on figuring out how many people fired shots and who pulled the triggers.  So far, no arrests have been made.

Anyone with information about the shooting should contact the Highlands County Sheriff's Office or Heartland Crime Stoppers at (800) 226-8477. People who provide tips to Crime Stoppers cain remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.