Florida beaches draw many college students this time of year to celebrate Spring Break. However, when 20 somethings are partying, drinking, and dancing on the sunny sandy Florida beaches, they are not aware of their surroundings and trust that they are going to have fun and be safe.
This was not the case for Anesia Powell (20), Kearria Freed (20), Henton Franklin (22), Jacole Young (22), Tykeria Ethridge (22), Devanta Moore (21), and Kelli Curry (21). Their wounded, shot bodies were scattered around a house on Thomas Drive in Panama City Beach, Florida. They were found in the house, on the lawn, on the median and across the street.
Just before 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning, David Jamichael Daniels, 22 from Mobile, Alabama, went on a shooting spree with a .40 caliber handgun and the chaos ensued. Daniels shot seven people. Nothing has been released concerning the motivation of the shooting, but for seven people, their sunny Florida beach party was over.
Kearria Freed took a bullet to the head and currently is in critical condition. Anesia Powell was shot in the left arm, knee and chest. She is in surgery at a local hospital. Devanta Moore was shot in the chest and is in critical condition. Jacole Young was shot in the back three times and is stable. Kelli Curry was shot in the leg. Tykeria Ethridge was shot in the neck and shoulder. She posted on Facebook that she was an innocent victim. She did not think she was going to make it through. Henton Franklin was shot in the side and is in critical condition.
A description of Daniels was able to be put out on the radio quickly. Daniels was arrested on the corner of Beach Street and Hurt Street, not far from where the shootings took place. Witnesses identified Daniels as the shooter. The .40 caliber handgun was found in someone’s backyard on Thomas Drive. Daniels is being held at the Bay County Jail and has been charged with seven counts of attempted murder.
This shooting was the sixth gun related call Friday night into Saturday morning. A gun had been discharged in a condominium. Four guns were seized in a drug case as well. This Spring Break chaos was only a piece of the night’s events. The sheriff department was kept busy among the continued chaos.
Sheriff Frank McKeithen gave a statement. He warned that there have been troubling times. There are the college kids who come for Spring Break and there are those who come to Spring Break because of those college kids, taking advantage of the chaos, and the drinking. These college kids are not aware of their surroundings enough to protect themselves.
Thursday there was a hearing held for people who lived along the Florida beaches. Neighbors want the city to ban drinking on their beaches. The same beaches Spring Breakers party on and do not things to keep themselves safe. Friday night into Saturday morning proved to be a more eventful Spring Break than party-goers had intended. There were several calls concerning shooting, guns and drugs proving to be a chaotic 24 hours.
By Jeanette Smith
Photo courtesy of Ricardo Mangual – Flickr License