Five people were shot Sunday morning and Interstate 4 was shut down in what witnesses said was a running gun battle between several cars near the tourist district, Orlando police said.
Officers arrived at Kirkman Road north of International Drive shortly before 2:30 a.m. and found a man shot in the face in critical but stable condition, Lt. Jonathan Bigelow said in a statement.
A witness said people in two cars were shooting at each other while driving northbound on Kirkman, a road that cuts through the northern part of the tourist district.
Several rifle and handgun casings were found on the road, police said.
A short time later, two more victims arrived at a local hospital with gunshot wounds, one of whom was airlifted to another hospital in critical but stable condition while the other was listed in stable condition, police said.
Just after 3 a.m., police responded to yet another shooting nearby.
A large amount of gunfire was heard near I-4 and Conroy Road, Bigelow said, and officers found several cars stopped on I-4 just east of Conroy.
One car’s window was shot out, but no one in it was hit, police said, while another was found riddled with bullets with “numerous” men still inside.
Two were taken to a hospital with gunshot wounds, police said, where they were listed as being in stable condition.
Inside one of the cars, police said, officers recovered a handgun and a rifle, while another handgun was found in the middle of I-4. Several rifle and handgun shell casings also were found on I-4.
More witnesses described people in two vehicles exchanging gun fire, police said.
Donnie Portillo said he was driving with his family back to New Jersey when their car was hit by gunfire.
“We heard pinging against the roof, then we heard really hard popping,” he said. “I told my wife and kids to get down and saw two cars shooting at each other on I-4.”
Portillo said they didn’t call police because they saw two patrol cars arriving at the scene. Only after they stopped later did they realize the car was hit twice.
Because of “the sheer size of the scene on I-4 and the scene on Kirkman Road,” police said, both roadways were shut down for a short period before being re-opened.
Orlando police are investigating the shootings, which are all believed to be related. The victims’ names were not released.