DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) — Gunshots erupted at the end of Dothan’s signature annual event, a parade capping off the National Peanut Festival, leaving one person dead, another wounded and sending terrified spectators ducking for cover.
With thousands of people lining the streets of Dothan on Saturday, the parade was nearing its conclusion when a series of gunshots rang out around what video showed was a group gathered near an intersection. Police rushed past the final parade entrants to get to the spot where the shooting happened, news outlets reported.
“This is the most chaotic scene I’ve ever been involved with,” police Maj. Will Glover shared on Facebook.
Police said Mekhi Nasir Lawton, 18, was charged with murder in the death of Garyoun Tyrone Fluellen, 22, of Dothan, and assault in the wounding of another person. Lawton, who turned himself in, was jailed with bond set at $1.5 million.
Additional police were on hand for the final big night of the festival later in the day, but authorities said the shooting wasn’t directly connected to the parade and was the apparent result of a fight between spectators.
Defense attorney Adam Parker, who was hired to represent Lawton, said he was reviewing what happened. “I am working to determine verifiable evidence in this unfortunate matter,” he said.
Dothan calls itself the “Peanut Capital of the World,” and the peanut festival dates back to 1938.