1 dead, 4 injured in shooting at Crab Festival

Annual series of street parties east of Williston attracts thousands

(WCJB-TV image)

WILLISTON, Fla. – Five people were shot -- one fatally -- Saturday evening at an large, unsanctioned event in Levy County known as the Crab Festival.

The shooting occurred just after 8 p.m. as more than 10,000 people were attending the festival, according to Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum.

About 70 law enforcement personnel were on working in the area at the time, and McCallum says officers were less than 25 yards away when the shooting occurred.

Victims were taken out of the area in sheriff's vehicles, one person was airlifted to Shands Medical Center in Gainesville. 


Authorities say 36-year-old Barry Barney died en route to the hospital.  Two men and two women were being treated at hospitals in Gainesville and Ocala, but the extent of their injuries was not known early Sunday.

Multiple law enforcement agencies were assisting the Sheriff's Office and the Williston Police Department as they processed the scene and looked for witnesses.  McCallum says bullet casings were recovered at the scene.

No arrests have been made.

Officials believe the shooting may have been gang related, possibly a retaliation shooting over drugs.

According to the Sheriff's Office, the so-called Crab Festival is an unsanctioned, non-permitted event consisting of a series of hip-hop style street parties primarily advertised through social media.

The event draws numerous vendors and large crowds to the neighborhoods east of Williston. The vendors, large crowds and numbers of vehicles force the closing of many of the roads, including County Road 318.

Authorities say violent incidents have been reported at past festivals.