Thousands of college students from across the nation converged on Panama City Beach for the country’s largest collegiate music festival, but the lingering effects of a recent Spring Break shooting in the area were evident throughout.
Spring Weekend brings numerous electronic music DJ’s to the beaches of Panama City for a two-day and night event, only this year, tensions were high after a Spring Break shooting left seven people injured just weeks before and, in a separate incident, a woman was gang-raped on the beach in broad daylight.
According to a press release from the Bay County Sheriff’s office, a video was discovered during a police department’s investigation into its own shooting. In that video, authorities say they found evidence of an unreported gang rape that occurred on Panama City Beach during Spring Break in broad daylight — with crowds of people standing around.
Two suspects were arrested in connection to the incident and authorities called the incident downright “disgusting.”
“This is like, no more than a group of wild animals praying on the carcass as it’s laying in the woods,” Frank Mckeithen, Bay County Sheriff, said regarding the gang rape incident.
Students did feel the lingering effects of the incidents throughout the weekend, as police presence was high and even local businesses cancelled events as preventative measures.
The Chataeu motel, located just down the beach from the event, is normally a popular post-concert pool party spot. This year, however, the pool was shut down at dusk and security stayed posted at the entrances — telling students staying at the motel that the pool party would not be happening.
“I was kind of upset, I never heard about the shooting, but I mean there are a lot of security guards around here, I feel like they could have had the pool party without anything going wrong,” UCF student Dave Linden said.
Still, students managed to have a memorable weekend, filled with music from popular DJ’s like Dada Life, 3lau, Laidback Luke and more, along with friends and fellow college students.
Check out more video from Spring Weekend 2015 here!
Photos by Katrina Poggio