Miami Beach, March 13, 2016 — Fergie once sang, “A little party never killed nobody.” That is no longer true, as revelers saw the popular Spring Break destination of South Beach closed down.
Three separate incidents had residents and tourists on edge. Spring Break 2016 got off to a violent start in South Beach.
Late Friday night, a fistfight broke out in the street between two guys just outside of two of the most popular clubs in South Beach. Ocean’s 10 and The Clevelander are where virtually everyone on Spring Break congregates. Ocean’s 10 has the legendary DJ Jay Sample, who effortlessly mixes latin dance music with American pop music and hip-hop.
Across the street on the same side of the street, The Clevelander has various DJs pumping up the crowd until 5:00 a.m. Since the Clevelander is an outdoor club centered around a swimming pool, crowds spill out onto the street.
Despite a heavy police presence, the area between these two clubs is where violence is most likely to take place.
The fistfight initially seemed to be harmless. Despite both guys throwing serious punches, many onlookers took video and pictures with their cellphones without trying to break up the fight. After two or three minutes, the incident was over.
People quickly returned to eating, drinking and dancing the night away. Saturday morning reports of violence were taken very lightly by partygoers. The situation was mostly laughed off.
By late Saturday night, people would not be laughing.
As the clock struck midnight and Saturday became Sunday, Spring Break was still in full swing. Around 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning, everything was still normal. A few minutes later, there was chaos in the very spot where the Friday night fistfight had occurred.
Again the cellphones were recording violence, but this time it was because a man had been shot.
The very spot at Ocean Avenue and 10th Street where everyone partied was now a crime scene. Police sirens were everywhere. The area was now on partial lockdown. Anybody who parked across the street from the Clevelander watched helplessly, unable to reach their cars to leave.
While far too many people insisted on being voyeurs, even the people who saw what happened apparently saw nothing. Those who preferred survival to voyeurism ducked into the two popular nightclubs.
While the first shots were fired at about 12:40 a.m., more shots were fired at 12:58 a.m. Those shots took place a few blocks away at the corner of Ocean Avenue and 7th Street.
Nobody was believed to have been harmed in that shooting. Around 1:00 a.m., people were still dancing inside Ocean’s 10. That soon changed.
Police entered the club and ordered D.J. Sample to shut down his music. The bar was ordered to be closed. That told everybody that the shooter was still on the loose. Nobody was safe.
For a period of time, people were allowed to stay in the club for their safety.
One very stocky Hispanic man in Ocean’s 10 seemed visibly shaken. He had witnessed what had happened on the street. A car rolled up, and then a window rolled down. Three shots were fired at one particular person with precision and accuracy.
Despite South Beach normally being congested with traffic, this car was able to get away without difficulty.
There is no evidence that the shooting had anything to do with the fistfight 24 hours earlier. However, this did not seem to be a case of random drunkenness gone wrong. The victim died in what appeared to be a professionally organized hit.
Whether it was related to drugs or gang warfare remains unknown. Other conflicting reports spoke of another fistfight Saturday night. The shooter remains unknown and free. Unless they brag about their exploit on social media, the Miami Beach Police Department has a difficult task ahead.
The scenario of the killer escaping by car seems more plausible than his walking away on foot. The homicide victim has been identified as Antoinne Decade, age 20.
At 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning, Daylight Savings Time ended and clocks were automatically readjusted to 3:00 am. At this point police officers switched gears and ordered everybody out of the Clevelander and Ocean’s 10. This was only the first level of police. Homicide detectives had yet to arrive on the scene. This meant that automobiles still in the area confined by yellow police tape would remain there overnight. Around 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning, the lockdown was finally lifted.
Sunday afternoon in South Beach was peaceful. In broad daylight, some visitors had no idea what had happened the night before. Others were keenly aware of the enhanced police presence and buses from various television stations. Silva Harapetian of CBS Miami was on the scene trying to piece together the puzzle from various witnesses.
Police will barely have time to solve this mess before bigger concerns arrive. Next weekend from March 18 through 20 is the Ultra Music Festival. As many as 500,000 people are expected to attend. This event has been marred by violence in recent years. While the festival itself takes place in Downtown Miami near Brickell, there will be a spillover crowd into South Beach. That is in addition to even more Spring Break attendees coming over the next couple of weeks. St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th on Thursday night is always known for heavy drinking.
In the 1980s, the popular Spring Break destination in Florida was Fort Lauderdale. Eventually the local government there clamped down, pretty much eliminating Spring Break traffic there.
In the last few years, Spring Break violence in the Florida Panhandle has local authorities contemplating a similar crackdown.
If an increased police presence is unable to handle the violence, it could be the end of Spring Break in South Beach. All the cultural beauty and feel-good revelry cannot gloss over the pall cast on this Spring Break weekend. A little party did kill somebody.