OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - As crowds reached for beads Saturday afternoon, the Elks Mardi Gras parade came to a halt after two people were stabbed.
Shortly after 1:15 p.m., police responded to reports of an aggravated assault on the Ocean Springs parade route, on Government Street near Pershing Avenue. There, officials found two male, stabbing victims. Both men were taken to the Ocean Springs Hospital.
Authorities said on Sunday that one of the victims who was brought in with life-threatening injuries is stable and expected to recover.
Witnesses say one of the stabbing victims was injured as he came to the defense of the other.
After questioning, 18-year-old Vantonio William, Jr. and 22-year-old Adam Warren were arrested. William was charged with two counts of aggravated assault, and is being held at the Ocean Springs Municipal Jail. Warren was charged with disorderly conduct.
The incident was reportedly retaliation for a drug deal that went bad earlier in the week.
"People need to come down here and behave. But obviously you're going to have a criminal element in anything you do," said Police Chief Mark Dunston.
The parade was delayed 30 minutes while police investigated, but eventually rolled again. Shocked social media users sounded off on Facebook about violence at the family event:
The stabbing took place right in front of Ashley Brown. She says after seeing the two suspects - both of who were wearing white face paint - she noticed a man lying on the ground about 15 - 20 yards away.
Her first thought: protect her two children.
"Our first reaction was protecting our kids and making sure they were safe. Kept them from seeing the guys that got injured. We are gun carriers and my husband had ours on his him (open carry), we stood in front of our girls as the sat on the curb," Brown told WLOX.