Wednesday Night Shooting in Fort Pierce the Latest in a Surge of Incidents Across the Treasure Coast; Rise in Gang Violence Believed to Be the Cause
Fort Pierce - Thursday December 8, 2022: St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara Thursday said law enforcement across our region is on heightened alert over the recent surge in shootings throughout the Treasure Coast. Authorities believe its due to an upsurge in gang activity across the Treasure Coast.
One example of the increased shooting incidents occurred Wednesday night in Fort Pierce.
According to a statement from SLC Sheriff Ken Mascara, about 6:45 p.m. Deputies in a patrol car were tracking a vehicle in the 1200 block of 17th Street when someone inside the vehicle fired a volley of shots.
“A passenger in that vehicle leaned out and shot at least 13 bullets in the direction of, we don’t know where," said Sheriff Mascara. "Our Deputies assumed it was them.”
No one was hit by any of those 13 shots.
But one man was seen running away from the vehicle where the gunfire came from. A deputy gave chase on foot. The deputy fired one shot, the fleeing man got on the ground, he was not injured, nor was he arrested. He may have been the target of the gunfire from the vehicle that fled.
It was the latest in a surge of shootings across the Treasure Coast, 609 reports of shootings in the past 4 months in St. Lucie County alone, said Sheriff Mascara, and it all seems to have begun with the September 7th murder of Johnny Green in Indiantown.
“Green was a Fort Pierce resident. He was in Indiantown, he was murdered and it seems that Martin County individuals would come to St. Lucie County and shoot. St. Lucie County residents would go to Martin County and shoot, and they would even go to Indian River County and shoot," said the Sheriff.
“Johnny Green is part of what’s spurred some of this but really gangs is what what’s causing it," said St. Lucie County Sheriff Chief Deputy Brian Hester. "There are a lot of gangs not just in Fort Pierce but Port St. Lucie, Indian River, Martin County, crossing county lines like they are. And I think that’s what we’re seeing that we’ve never really seen in the past.”
As a result Sheriff Mascara says law enforcement throughout the region have stepped up sharing intelligence and started tracking suspect vehicles. But the public’s help is still needed. “I can’t do much unless you cooperate with us. That’s the message. You gotta tell us what’s going on. Who are the thugs that are terrorizing our community? And we’ll act on it.”
Two clips of the body-cam footage from Wednesday night's shooting incident can be seen below: