One man is dead, and five others wounded after a shooting on Saturday at the ninth annual Fort Myers ZombiCon festival, organized by Pushing DaiZies, Inc.
The fatality was 20-year-old Expavious Tyrell Taylor, a student attending ASA College, known as a talented drummer and football player. It is unknown whether Taylor was targeted by the shooter, or if the shots were random. The five other victims were treated in a hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
The festival, which draws upwards of 20,000 annually, is described as “the largest gathering of zombies and those who love them in the state of Florida” by its organizers and encourages people to dress up and act as zombies for the evening.
Fort Myers police chief Dennis Eads has described the search for the shooter as a “nightmare;” estimates of 15 to 20,000 people in attendance are all suspects, all were concealing their faces to varying degrees because of their costumes, and some were even carrying fake weapons.
A statement given by Pushing DaiZies, Inc. regards the safety measures of ZombiCon, which are now being questioned by the public: “… We take the safety of our patrons very seriously and take precautions in hiring security and police officers…”
Participant Joelle Faith Filippone-Greaves told interviewers that security was not going to allow her to carry fake handcuffs; perhaps the consistency of the security measures that were in place for the evening will be investigated if someone had been able to enter the festival with a gun.
Attendees are aiding the investigation by submitting personal videos taken with smartphones, and other devices. The call for stronger safety measures for citizens is being acknowledged by Fort Myers Mayor Randall Henderson. During an interview, Henderson confirmed that plans for downtown surveillance cameras are being sped up as a result of the shooting.