Ginnie Springs reopens following 2 shootings over holiday weekend: deputies

Florida deputies responded to two separate shootings at Ginnie Springs in Gilchrist County over Memorial Day weekend, leading to a temporary closure of the popular recreational area.

The Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office (GCSO) said its deputies responded to the shootings during the overnight hours of Friday, May 24, and Saturday, May 25.

Few details about either shooting have been released, including whether anyone was hurt or killed, whether anyone has been detained or arrested, or if authorities are looking for anyone. GCSO said this was "to maintain the integrity of the ongoing investigations."

Early Sunday morning, Ginnie Springs posted on Facebook that it was temporarily closed and that it would let everyone know when it reopened. In an update, Ginnie Springs said it was open on Memorial Day and would resume normal operations on Tuesday.


Hours later, GCSO said in a Facebook post that it was searching for a woman believed to be connected to an attempted murder investigation that happened between Devil's Spring and Tube Launch inside Ginnie Springs. GCSO has since said it was no longer looking for the identity of that woman, but it's unclear if she was located.

Deputies responded to the area around 11:30 p.m. Saturday night. Gilchrist County deputies and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) were reportedly at Ginnie Springs on Sunday.

FOX 35 contacted Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office and FDLE for additional info on Sunday but did not receive an immediate response.

GCSO did not release additional information about the attempted murder investigation or the circumstances that may have led up to it but said it was "seeking to identify any witnesses and one outstanding subject that was involved."

Philip Chen spent the weekend camping at the springs with many friends. He says it was packed and rowdy.

"I don't even know how to describe it," said Chen. "It's just crazy."

He and others FOX 35 spoke with said they heard about the shootings but didn’t see them.

Chen says the violence wasn’t limited to gunfire – he and others saw lots of fights and drunk drivers.

"All the stuff is just crazy. I've never seen that kind of thing before."

Wes Skiles, cave diver and underwater photographer, enters an underwater cavern with his video camera at Ginnie Springs in north Florida, September 20, 2007. (Photo by George Skene/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Authorities said they sought a woman in her early 20s with long braids and light-tinted contacts. She wore circular hoop earrings, multiple rings, and a green or dark bathing suit.

Deputies did not identify the woman but said she was believed to have been at Ginnie Springs on Saturday and was reportedly last seen walking towards the park's exit.

Ginnie Springs is a popular recreational area in northern Florida. It's about 140 miles northwest of Orlando, and visitors can swim, snorkel, and canoe there. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.