State, Local Leaders Discuss Fort Myers Shooting at Club Blu

“It was supposed to be teenagers having a good time.”

BY July 25, 2016

“This was not an act of terrorism. This is not a terrorist act. If you’ve seen that, read that, heard that, put that out of your mind.”

Interim Fort Myers Police Chief Dennis Eads greeted media with those words at a media briefing Monday afternoon following an early morning’s mass shooting at Club Blu in Fort Myers where two teenagers lost their lives and 18 others were wounded. Four remain hospitalized; two in critical condition and two in fair condition.

But as for other facts surrounding the case, officials offered few: Three persons of interest have been detained. Fort Myers Police is working with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Victims ended up in at least four hospitals, by ambulance or private vehicle.

Officials did not respond to questions about the club or any additional circumstances surrounding the shooting.

The affair drew Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi, along with dozens of reporters representing media outlets from around the world. A weary-looking Superintendent Greg Adkins and Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson spoke of the shock of losing two kids—Stef’an Strawder, an 18-year-old star basketball player for Lehigh Senior High School and 14-year-old Sean Archilles. The club had been open for a teen night. Gunfire erupted in the parking lot as it was ending.

“It was supposed to be teenagers having a good time,” Scott said.

Speakers went out of their way to praise law enforcement—and to promise that justice would be served—but as far as finding ways to prevent mass shootings, they wouldn’t go there.

“I support the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment never shot anyone,” Scott said. He repeatedly stressed the need for witnesses to speak out if they saw something.

Congressman Curt Clawson, standing quietly in the back of the room, wouldn’t delve into it either.

“You’re catching the wrong person at the wrong movement. I’m just in a state of shock right now to be honest with you,” Clawson said.

Clawson is familiar with the Dunbar community and the ongoing violence there, and said he did see hints of promise.

“There is movement as you know. We may not have a fire but we have sparks,” he said. “As a community in my view we have to look inside of ourselves for cohesion… to find some longer-term solutions. Law enforcement is an important part, but the community, family and cultural aspects of this cannot be forgotten.”

Related Images: