Two men were arrested early Sunday following reports of gunfire at the Hernando County Fairgrounds.
Keenen Okey Stewart, 19, of Dade City and Darriohn Pryor, 29, of Clearwater were booked into the county jail. Stewart faces charges of carrying a concealed firearm and possession of crack cocaine while Pryor was being held on a warrant for grand theft auto, resisting an officer without violence and fleeing to elude.
They both remained behind bars Monday, with Stewart being held in lieu of $7,500 bail and Pryor on $2,000 bail.
According to the arrest report, an anonymous caller said people were firing guns at each other at the fairgrounds about 3:30 a.m. When officers arrived at the scene, they said more than 500 people were at the location.
Members of the crowd pointed to a small, four-door car that was leaving the scene, telling officers that people inside the vehicle had been firing guns out the window. Officers caught up to the car and conducted a traffic stop, making all four people inside get out of the vehicle.
Officers saw the butt of a loaded firearm sticking out from underneath the front passenger seat, where Stewart had been sitting. A search of the vehicle also turned up 0.3 grams of cocaine.
Stewart refused to talk with officers about the incident and was taken into custody. Pryor also was arrested during the stop.
Brooksville police Chief George Turner said his agency didn't know anything about the large gathering at the fairgrounds Saturday night. He said he planned to speak with someone at the Hernando County Fair Association about letting the police department know about large events in advance.
"It would be nice if we had an idea 500 people were gathering somewhere," Turner said. "This is something we had no advance warning about."
Fairgrounds manager Joy Jackson said a wrestling event was held at the fairgrounds Saturday night, and that was followed by a small birthday party that was held in a building near the back of the fairgrounds.
Jackson said the organizers of the party, whom she declined to identify, had told her they were going to provide their own security. "I have to assume people are renting it for what they say they're doing," Jackson said. "We were told it was going to be friends and family. But maybe they have a lot of friends and family."
As of Monday afternoon, Jackson had not spoken with Turner about the incident. She said she also planned to speak with the police chief.
Joel Anderson can be reached at email@example.com or (352) 754-6120.