UPDATE: British media are reporting that the Scottish man found dead on Sunday is Shaun Cole, a soldier in the British armed forces who recently returned from a tour in Sierra Leone fighting ebola.
By all accounts, Ultra Music Festival was a calmer, more peaceful affair in downtown Miami this year. Arrests were down from 2014, with police officers now handling festival security, while new procedures and bans on everything from glowsticks to masks helped control the crowds.
But police this morning are untangling two violent incidents involving international tourists who came to town for the festival. A 22-year-old Canadian man is in critical condition after a hit-and-run following a club show in northeast Miami, while a Scottish tourist was found dead early Sunday in front of his motel near 81st Street and Biscayne Boulevard. He died of blunt force trauma, police say.
Alexander Sanghwan was returning from a club around 5:30 Sunday morning when a car struck him near NE Fifth Avenue and 181st Street, police say. "He hit him hard enough on the left front of the car that it actually caused the grill to come off and lay on the roadway," Miami-Dade Police Det. George Wilhelm told WSVN Channel 7.
Alexander Sanghwan was hit by a car early Sunday near NE 180th Street and Fifth Avenue.
Sanghwan, a student at the University of Ottawa according to his LinkedIn profile, was in town to attend Ultra, his mother told WSVN. He's in intensive care at Jackson Memorial Hospital this morning with bleeding on the brain.
Police are searching for a navy blue BMW 335i seen fleeing the scene after hitting Sanghwan. Anyone with info should call 305-471-TIPS.
Details remain sparse in the second case, which began early Sunday morning outside a motel at 81st Street and Biscayne Boulevard. Passersby found a man — whom police have identified only as a Scottish tourist in his 20s — dead in a puddle of blood on the sidewalk. The motel's owner told WSVN that the man had been in town with two friends to attend Ultra.
Officer Rene Pimentel tells New Times this morning that police aren't releasing the victim's name yet. More information about the case could come later today, Pimentel said.
Overall, crime at Ultra itself was down this year, police say. Although final statistics for the weekend haven't been released, police say about 50 arrests were made over the first two days of the festival, including 15 felonies; last year's three-day total was 84 arrests, including 30 felonies — two-thirds of which involved selling molly. The 2014 event was also marred by a stampede of gate-crashers that seriously injured a security guard.
Calls for ambulances also decreases this year. On Friday, paramedics and firefighters responded to 74 calls for service and transported 12 people to hospitals, Lt. Ignatius Carroll tells New Times; none was serious.
"It was mostly heat exhaustion, dehydration, those kinds of calls," he says.
Final numbers for Saturday and Sunday aren't available yet, Carroll says, but overall the festival was quieter this year for EMS workers. "It was calmer this year," he says. "The camel packs so many people were wearing made a difference for dehydration, and the new rules helped with crowd control."
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Update 10:46 a.m.: Britain's Mirror and Daily Record are each reporting that the Scottish man found dead on Sunday was Shaun Cole, a 22-year-old private in the British armed forces. Cole had served recent overseas tours in Afghanistan and Sierra Leone, the papers report.