MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Police officers recently reported that since the rowdy spring break parties began this year, they have seized over 100 firearms and arrested nearly 490 people.
Osagie Jordan Idahosa, 21, a college student from Georgia, died after he was wounded on March 17 during one of the two fatal shootings on Ocean Drive.
The March 17 shooting also wounded Tameen Abdullah, 21, another student from Georgia, and resulted in the arrest of Lawarren Omeal Meadows, 23, of Tallahassee.
“Jordan was a special guy. He went from being homeschooled to being a scholar. There are millions and millions of memories of me and Jordan,” Idahosa’s brother, Sammy Idahosa, told WALB a few days after the shooting.
The solution to making spring break safer, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said, is to shut down the raucous nightlife during spring break because the island city “is not Las Vegas or New Orleans.”
“We are doing everything we can to try to tell the world that we don’t want you here,” Gelber said on Monday as commissioners met to discuss possible solutions.
Despite the crisis, the hospitality industry has benefited from the return of tourists after persevering through the pandemic challenges of 2020 and 2021, and this year, more projects for new hotels surfaced in Miami Beach.
Some of Gelber’s toughest critics, including Philip Levine, a former Miami Beach mayor, and Luther Campbell, better known as music producer Uncle Luke, took to social media to criticize the current administration’s response.
Levine described the current administration as “weak” and “spineless.” Gelber said commissioners have sent a message through previous curfews and limits on liquor sales for tourists to take the party elsewhere. Entrepreneurs are fighting against the limits on liquor store sales.
“You can go get any kind of drug on Ocean Drive on a regular basis,” Campbell said, adding that closing the area to traffic was a bad idea since tourists are now “walking around with nothing to do ... in this drug-infested area.”
After the March 17 shooting on Ocean Drive and Seventh Street, Meadows confessed to firing his gun in self-defense after he said a gunman threatened him, police said. Police officers reported seizing four weapons while investigating Idahosa’s murder.
There was a mention of metal detectors while commissioners discussed on Monday the possibility of hosting events that require tickets and security screenings to keep weapons away from the spring break crowds next year.
“We do need to do more to deter crime, drug dealing, however, during spring break, the weekends we are talking about, we are not inviting everyone to come down,” Commissioner Steven Meiner said.
Before the meeting ended, commissioners voted to implement three measures during spring break in South Beach: A curfew, a secured perimeter on Ocean Drive, and limits on alcohol sales.