Nikkitia Bryant dies in shooting at Martin Luther King Jr. Day event in Fort Pierce, Florida
Nikkitia Bryant was a mother, a hairstylist and graduate of Fort Pierce Central High School
Chief Deputy Brian Hester provided an update at a press conference this morning on the shooting incident that occurred on Monday afternoon at Ilous Ellis Park in Fort Pierce that left one person dead, seven shot, and four others injured.
According to Chief Deputy Brian Hester, detectives have identified the deceased victim as 29-year-old Nikkitia Bryant of Fort Pierce.
According to Chief Deputy Brian Hester, detectives initially believed that the shooting was the result of a dispute between two rival gangs; however, they no longer believe this is the case. Detectives now believe that the dispute may have also involved individuals who are not affiliated with any gangs.
Detectives have identified 27-year-old Frederick Lamar Johnson, Jr. as a person of interest. Johnson is wanted on a felony warrant for violation of probation, which stemmed from drug-related charges. According to Chief Deputy Brian Hester, detectives believe Johnson was present during the incident, and he is wanted for questioning.
Her brothers told FOX3 that the 29-year-old woman was at Ilous Ellis Park in Fort Pierce with her daughter on Martin Luther King Jr. Day when she was killed in a fight between two gangs.
According to information provided by her relatives on Tuesday, Nikkitia Bryant was one of eight persons who were shot on Monday while attending a Holiday at the park near Avenue M and 13th Street.
According to Calvin Bethel, Bryant was shot in her stomach as well as her pelvis, and she was transported to Longwood Regional Medical Center, where she received emergency surgery. The following morning, it was determined that she had passed away.
Bethel said that the deceased woman was a proud graduate of Fort Pierce Central High School and that she worked as a hair stylist. Earlier in the day, she had participated in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, and then she had taken her daughter, who was nine years old, to a park to get something to eat.
Sheriff Ken Mascara of St. Lucie County initially stated in a video recording made on Tuesday morning that the victim was 30 years old and that the victim’s kid was 6 years old.
Bethel said that Bryant’s daughter saw her mother get shot.
Bethel advised, “Spend as much time as you possibly can with the people you care about.” “Be watchful of their whereabouts at all times because this is a hazardous world. You don’t want to find out it’s too late when it actually is too late to do something about it.”
Although they were in mourning, Bryant’s relatives had not yet made any preparations for the burial.
Bethel stated that he is attempting to keep his composure for the sake of his family and niece. In addition to this, he questioned how the perpetrators of the shooting could live with themselves knowing that an innocent woman had been killed.
“Within that park, as the celebration came to a close, bullets were fired, and eight individuals were shot, and four others were injured as they attempted to leave from that chaotic scene,” the sheriff said. “The park was filled with people trying to get away from the mayhem.”
As of Tuesday morning, no one had been arrested, but Chief Deputy Brian Hester said that detectives are constantly on the case.
“There is evidence that this shooting happened because of a fight between two rival gangs in Fort Pierce,” Hester said.
He also said that investigators found more than 50 empty shells from guns of three different sizes at the scene.
“Let me be very clear. If you are thinking of, or hiding, supporting, protecting or aiding any suspect, anyone involved in the heinous incident, then I can assure you you we will arrest you, and we will charge you to the fullest extent of the law.”
Hester said that the agency works with agencies at the local, state, and federal levels. They have set up a hotline for witnesses to call with any information.
“Yesterday was Martin Luther King Day, whose legacy is based on nonviolence, but violence happened in our community,” the sheriff said, adding that the agency sends its “heartfelt” condolences to the woman’s family and the community.
The City of Fort Pierce extends its thoughts and prayers to the families that were impacted by the shooting incident which took place during an event at Lincoln Park Regional Park at 1306 Avenue M on Monday afternoon. Tragically, this incident occurred on a day when our community gathered to pay tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who dedicated his life to peacefully advancing human rights and equality.
The Fort Pierce Police Department, St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, and St. Lucie County Fire District responded immediately by securing the site and providing assistance to the injured. The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office is handling the investigation and the City of Fort Pierce Police Department shall continue to assist our partners at the Sheriff’s Office in any way possible to help bring closure to this unfortunate situation.
If you have any information related to this incident, please contact detectives or call Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-800-273-8477.
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