One of the United States’ hottest tourist towns is implementing controlled security checkpoints in its bustling downtown area after a shooting erupted early Sunday morning, injuring seven.
“There will be access points that to get into the downtown area, you would have to come through those access areas,” Orlando, Florida, Mayor Buddy Dyer said during a news conference on Monday. “We would have, in all likelihood, dogs there and have the ability to detect weapons.”
The announcement follows a mass shooting that took place in downtown Orlando after a “large fight” broke out at about 2 a.m. Sunday as people left bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. Police Chief Eric D. Smith said that one of the people involved in the fight “pulled out a handgun and fired into the crowd.” The seven who were injured were hospitalized in stable condition.
“It was like a stampede,” a witness only identified as Taliyah told Fox 35.
“The sounds of the gunshots was like drowned out by everyone’s screams and like, sheers [sic] of terror,” she said.
The mayor’s office told Fox News Digital that it is expanding the city’s “controlled entry pilot,” which has been implemented during popular holidays around the city’s bustling downtown area, most recently on Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick’s Day. The security measures include “six pedestrian checkpoints and require all guests and employees to go through screenings for the detection of firearms,” according to Dyer’s press secretary, Cassandra Bell.
The mayor’s office is working to implement and expand the program “immediately,” including for “weekend nights and other major holidays in our downtown to further prevent incidents like this from happening.”
“I think that if there are people that are carrying weapons and intending to come downtown, they will certainly think twice about it before they do so. I think it’s a deterrent for some people to… simply go through a checkpoint,” Dyer said in his remarks Monday.
Orlando Police told Fox News Digital that metal detectors and other weapon detection measures will be used at the checkpoints, but the department could not provide details on how many officers or K9s will be deployed.
Orlando is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, with theme parks such as Disney World and Universal attracting visitors from across the country and world. Nearly 6 million visitors traveled to the city last year, according to flight records, which helped propel Florida to see a record number of tourists ever recorded in its history.
Orlando and the Kissimmee-Sanford area even snagged the top spot for best places to visit in 2022, according to a WalletHub study published earlier this year.
Fights breaking out at hot tourist destinations in the city are nothing new, recent reports show. Last month, police cleared a Universal Orlando CityWalk parking garage after “several juveniles” were involved in a brawl.
Earlier that same month, a fight broke out at Disney World between two families, leaving one man involved in the brawl with a facial laceration.
Dyer said that though his office and the Orlando Police Department had installed more safety precautions in recent months, “it looks like we need to do more” after Sunday’s shooting.
“What happened on Sunday morning is at absolute cross-purposes with everything that we’re trying to do in our downtown,” the mayor said at Monday’s news conference. “We want to have a safe downtown and we’ve strengthened a number of our efforts with OPD. But it looks like we need to do more.”
Disney World’s media team did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the shooting and whether it has also implemented more safety precautions.
Sunday’s shooting is still under investigation.
Fox News’s Ronn Blitzer contributed to this article.