Two people were left dead and at least 17 wounded after gunfire erupted at a nightclub in Fort Myers, Florida, which was hosting a swimsuit-themed party for teens
It was not immediately clear what triggered the violence at Club Blu in Fort Myers but authorities said the shooting was not an act of terror.
Police detained three people and were searching for others, interim police chief Dennis Eads said.
The killed teenagers were 14-year-old Sean Archilles and 18-year-old Stef’an Strawder, police said.
Sean lived about a mile from the nightclub and loved to play football and basketball, said his father, Jean Archilles. “He liked to make people laugh. He’s a funny kid. He’s always joking.”
Stef’an starred on the basketball team for Lehigh High School, averaging more than 15 points a game, according to The News-Press.
Four people were in hospital. Two were in critical condition and two in fair condition, said Lisa Sgarlata, chief administrative officer at Lee Memorial Health System.
All of the other patients were treated and released. The victims ranged in ages from 12 to 27.
“It’s horrible when these things happen,” governor Rick Scott said at a news conference. He noted that the state is currently seeing a 45-year low in the crime rate.
There were two active crime scenes — the club and a street in the area.
Law enforcement removed some of the police tape by Monday morning, allowing the media and public to get closer to the entrance to Club Blu.
There were bullet holes in concrete planters and wooden support beams. Sheriff’s evidence markers were still affixed to the holes.
Tasha Grant said her son grew up with Stef’an and the two had been friends since they were five and played on the city football team together.
The talented athlete often spent the night at her house. He was a typical teenage boy, who was quiet and loved pizza and was being scouted by colleges, she said.
“He was like a son to me... Looking at it on the news this morning, it just broke me. I’m really hurt. It hurts so bad,” she said, adding she had to then break the news to her son.
State records online show the alcohol licence for Club Blu was revoked on June 7 because of an incident that occurred a year ago. A complaint was filed in 2014 for “criminal activity” and that the club was given an official notice.
The shooting comes more than a month after a nightclub shooting in Orlando that left 49 victims dead and 53 others wounded.
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