Authorities identify person of interest in MLK Day mass shooting

FORT PIERCE, Fla. – No arrests have been made yet following a mass shooting in Fort Pierce on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but authorities have identified a person of interest in connection to the crime that left a mother dead and many others injured.

On Wednesday, the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office identified 27-year-old Frederick Lamar Johnson Jr. as a person of interest in Monday’s shooting.

Police say they want to get Johnson Jr. into custody immediately, believing he was there during the shooting.

Nikkitia Bryant was one of eight people who were shot, while four others were injured trying to flee the chaotic scene.

According to the St. Lucie County sheriff, Bryant was attending a party with her young daughter Monday evening following an MLK Day parade when she was shot in the stomach and pelvis before being rushed to the hospital.

She was pronounced dead the next morning.

“I don’t know how to put that. It’s Martin Luther King Day. You wouldn’t expect someone to bring a fully loaded gun to a children’s park,” said Calvin Bethel, Bryant’s brother.

Authorities said two of the eight shooting victims are still in the hospital in stable condition.

Authorities believe the shooting was the result of a dispute between several people, some of whom are gang members.

More than 50 shell casings were recovered from three different calibers of weapons the night of the shooting.

Meanwhile, as the investigation and the search continues, Bryant’s family is trying to come to terms with what ended up being a senseless tragedy.

“Spend as much time as you can with your loved ones,” Bethel said. “Be careful about where they go because it’s a dangerous world. You don’t want to find out it’s too late when it’s too late.”

The family says they’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support they’ve received.

Right now, funeral arrangements for Bryant are pending.

About the Author:

Gio Insignares joined the Local 10 News team in May 2021 as an anchor and reporter. He’ll be co-anchoring the new WSFL Morning Newscast, Monday-Friday from 7-9 a.m., and also contribute to other WPLG newscasts.