FMPD vows Club Blu shooting won’t become cold case
FORT MYERS, Fla. The bullet holes have been patched up. The once-shattered door has been fixed. And a restaurant plans to move into the former Club Blu.
But the memory of the mass shooting that took place in the parking lot there after a teen party one year ago Tuesday was fresh on the mind of the mother of Sean Archilles, a 14-year-old who was gunned down that night.
She released 12 balloons in his honor Tuesday morning. The mother of the other teen killed that night, 18-year-old Stef’an Strawder, held a candlelight vigil on the site Monday night.
The shootings injured 18 others and sparked lawsuits from the families of a dozen victims, who allege the club, the owners of the property and the plaza where it sat could have prevented what took place if proper security and surveillance cameras were in place.
The identity of who fired the shots is unclear. No one has been arrested for it, and law enforcement believes the dozens of people who were at the club the night of the shooting are afraid to come forward and share information about what they saw.
“We’re not giving up on this case,” Fort Myers police Lt. Jay Rodriguez said. “I’m not going to make this a cold case.”
The Fort Myers Police Department has turned its investigation over to the state attorney’s office, which is reviewing the findings.
Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers received 39 tips over the past year about the shooting, and one as recently as the past week, according to Crime Stoppers Coordinator Trish Routte.
“It just goes to show that there are people out there that have information,” Routte said.
Police had three men in custody hours after the shooting. Derrick Church, Demetrius O’Neal and Tajze Battle face charges of resisting offers and are out on bond, but were never charged for the shooting.
Police found a stolen car burning at a complex near the Edison Mall that investigators believe is connected to the shooting. They also discovered two high-powered rifles at that scene.
A gun police believe is connected to the shooting led Jazmin Barron to plead guilty to lying on her firearm application, but she said she lost track of that gun before the shooting and doesn’t know anything about what took place at Club Blu. She has never been charged for the shooting, either.
But law enforcement isn’t giving up hope.
“This is probably one of the most tragic incidents that has ever happened in this community, so I wanted to show my support for the families and the community,” Fort Myers Police Chief Derrick Diggs said. “And let the community know that the police department is right there with them.”