One of the United States’ hottest tourist towns is implementing restricted security checkpoints in its bustling downtown area after a shooting early Sunday morning left seven people injured.
“There are access points to get into the downtown area, you have to come through those access areas,” Orlando, Florida, Mayor Buddy Dyer said at a news conference Monday. “We will have dogs there and have the ability to detect weapons.”
The mass shooting occurred in downtown Orlando after a “big fight” broke out at 2 a.m. Sunday as people left bars, nightclubs and restaurants. Police Chief Eric D. Smith said one of the men involved in the fight “pulled out a handgun and fired into the crowd.” The condition of seven injured persons is stable.
“It was like a stampede,” a witness identified as Talia told Fox 35.
Gunshots caught on video in Orlando shooting that left 7 injured
“The sounds of gunfire seem to be drowned out by everyone’s screams and sheers [sic] Terror,” she said.
The mayor’s office told Fox News Digital it is expanding the city’s “controlled entry pilot,” which has been implemented in the city’s bustling downtown area during popular holidays, most recently on Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick’s Day. Security measures include “six pedestrian checkpoints and all guests and employees will have to go through screenings to identify firearms,” Dyer’s press secretary, Cassandra Bell, said.
The mayor’s office is working to “immediately” implement and expand the program, including “weekend nights and other major holidays in our downtown to prevent similar incidents from occurring.”
“If there are people who have weapons and want to come downtown, I think they’re definitely going to think twice before they do that. I think it’s going to be a deterrent for some people…just go through a checkpoint,” Dyer said. His comments were Monday.
Orlando police told Fox News Digital that metal detectors and other weapon detection measures will be used at checkpoints, but the department did 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 all over the country and the world. Nearly 6 million visitors flew to the city last year, according to flight records, helping to see a record number of tourists in Florida history.
According to a WalletHub study published earlier this year, Orlando and the Kissimmee-Sanford area topped the list of best places to visit in 2022.
Police clear a Universal Orlando garage after a children’s brawl
Clashes in the city’s hot tourist destinations are nothing new, recent reports show. Last month, police cleared Universal Orlando’s CityWalk parking garage after “several youths” were involved in a brawl.
Earlier that month, two families got into a fight at Disney World, leaving one man with a concussion.
Disney World plunges into chaos as 2 families clash in massive Magic Kingdom fight
While his office and the Orlando Police Department have instituted more security measures in recent months, Dyer said after Sunday’s shooting, “it looks like we need to do more.”
“What happened Sunday morning is absolutely in line with everything we’re trying to do in our downtown,” the mayor said at a Monday news conference. “We want to have a safer downtown, and we’ve strengthened many of our efforts with OPD. But it looks like we need to do more.”
Click here to get the Fox News app
A Disney World media team did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the shooting and whether it had implemented additional security measures.
Sunday’s shooting is still under investigation.
Fox News’ Ron Blitzer contributed to this story.