Gunfire Disrupts Florida ‘Zombicon’

At least one dead, four injured.

The annual Fort Myers, Florida Zombicon was thrown into chaos late Saturday night when a gunman opened fire, wounding four and killing one. The Fort Myers News-Press reported that the wounded were hospitalized with “with non-life-threatening injuries.” 

#SWFL Shooting during Zombicon. A ton of us from @NDN were here. Are here. Stay tuned.

— Maryann Batlle (@maryannbatlle) October 18, 2015

Zombicon is staged by Pushing Daizies. Pushing Daizies is a self-described “group of artists, musicians and creatives” who want to “foster creativity and a love of art and music” in their community. They posted the following statement on Facebook:

The organizers of Zombicon, Pushing DaiZies, Inc. are deeply saddened by the news of what happened within the footprint of our event. We take the safety of our patrons very seriously and take precautions in hiring security and police officers for our annual event. Our prayers go out to the family members and individuals involved in the incident.

Fort Myers police told the News-Press early Sunday that the hunt was on for the gunman. “There was a lot of witnesses down here, there were a lot of people taking pictures, videos with their cellphone,” Lt. Victor Medico told the paper. He also stated that whatever the public could provide to aid police investigation “would be greatly appreciated.”

Zombicon’s “About” page dubbed this year’s theme “Fallout 1985,” an “80’s throwback, post-apocalyptic mix.” The organizers expected as many as 20,000 attendees. The final note on the page underscored the tragedy of bullets flying during what should have been a macabre but fun festival:

Remember, Zombicon is not only about raising the dead, but about raising funds for the community, the kids, the hungry, the sick and amping up creative culture in SWFL! You are the ones who help make all this possible!

The month leading up to Halloween is full of events like Zombicon across the nation. They often have dark themes but under the hood you find people getting together and having a good time. It’s sad beyond words when it turns out any other way. If you’re not safe at—of all places—a zombie convention, it doesn’t feel safe anywhere.

Photos by TwoThreeNine/Flickr