Police, attendees seek answers in Coastal Empire Fair shooting - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Police, attendees still looking for answers after fair shooting


Thousands of people flooded the Coastal Empire Fairgrounds Saturday night, walking away from the 63rd annual Coastal Empire Fair through flashing blue lights and police tape. This only minutes after shots were fired at the family-filled event.

"I was up front. I don't know all of the details," said Chris Hafer, president of the Coastal Empire Fair.

Savannah-Chatham Metro Police and Georgia State Patrol officers quickly responded.

Officers who were working in the fairgrounds heard shots and they found several victims who were transported to hospitals," said SCMPD Officer Julian Miller.

Police say seven people were shot. The oldest victim is 36 and the youngest is 14 years old. Their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the folks who were injured and to their families," said Hafer. "We've never had an event like that happen before."

But in November 1999, shots were fired in the parking lot of the fairgrounds during an argument over a teddy bear. Reports say two men snatched the teddy bear from two other men and then shot the victims who were taken to the hospital and listed in fair condition.

WTOCs cameras were not allowed inside the fairgrounds for the final day of the fair to talk with attendees, however WTOC did get an email from a person who signed it 'Anonymous'. The anonymous person says the first five to six shots were fired in front of the yo-yo swings and Ferris wheel, with the final three to five shots ringing out in front of a children's slide.

The writer of the email continues by saying they were on the Ferris wheel and could see three people lying on the ground, and they could also see parents hiding their children under trailers.

"It is a family environment," said Hafer. "Fortunately, we have an emergency plan, and it went into place."

A plan organizers say worked well.

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