Search continues for shooter after two killed at Bell Tower Shops
Lee County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a shooting at the Bell Tower Shops near Society and TGI Fridays in Fort Myers.
Kevin Robinson, 55, and his son Javarcia Riggins, 33, were both fatally shot, according to Sheriff Carmine Marceno.
Two other victims were transported to the hospital. An unidentified woman is in critical condition and an unidentified man is being treated for minor injuries.
While damages of the Tuesday evening shooting are still visible, the parking lot at the Bell Tower Shops has reopened to the public.
Those on the scene can see storefront windows shattered from bullets. Crime scene tape still blocks off some areas of the mall.
A woman said she saw her husband and son killed in front of her. She said they were having dinner at TGI Fridays for her birthday when they went outside for a cigarette and someone started shooting.
I have never heard such screaming in my life. My heart goes out to that broken soul whose life was shattered tonight at Bell Tower in Fort Meyers.
— &rea (@arbharrisonjr) October 10, 2018
Donny Overholser said Robinson was instrumental to a local little league baseball tournaments in Fort Myers.
There would be many out-of-town parents and children competing. Robinson would go out of his way to welcome them while also maintaining the appearance of the field before games.
Overholser, president of the Fort Myers Little League, thought the shooting was horrible when he first heard of the news. He wasn’t prepared for what happened next.
“I just went to my knees,” Overholser said, when he was informed his friend died. “I was sick to my stomach. I just couldn’t even believe somebody that’s as friendly as he is to everybody he meets could suffer that kind of heinous act.”
Sandra James, a friend of Robinson, said he was celebrating his girlfriend’s birthday at the time of the shooting.
“He was a big teddy bear,” James said, “just a happy guy.”
James expressed frustration for the senseless crime that was perpetrated against her best friend and his step-son.
Scott Dingess was also celebrating at Bell Tower Shops at the time of the shooting. He was at one of the bars for his birthday, until it was soon interrupted by gunfire.
“By the second, third round, you could kinda hear the round skimming through the air,” Dingess said, a former Marine, “and it was pretty good indicator that we had a shooter.”
His first instinct was to run towards the gunfire.
As screams pierced in the air, Dingess encountered two people wounded from gunshots and a man who was dead in the parking lot. Soon after, the military veteran with the assistance of another person, helped a woman until the medics arrived.
“You just don’t think about those kinds of things at Bell Tower,” Dingess said. “It’s just not the type of environment.
Sheriff Marceno said the shooting is not a random act of violence and was targeted. But they have not released any information regarding possible suspects in its investigation.
WINK News reported last year that Cru, a restaurant at Bell Tower Shops, provided active shooter training to their staff last year. In a statement regarding Tuesday’s shooting a manager said:
“Upon arrival, I was very relieved to see that one of my stellar employees took action and used the exact methods we practiced during our Active Shooter Response Program conducted by Aaron Forum and Cadre Machin with the assistance of Shoot Center Cape Coral.
“My employee rushed all other employees and guests inside to a safe location and locked the doors to secure themselves inside until the scene was secured. I am thankful to God in so many moments, but in a moment like this for giving our team the wherewithal to remember our training and put safety above everything else. It’s never about playing the hero, it’s about the safety of human life.”
In a separate statement the restaurant Society said in part:
“Everyone at Society is extremely saddened to hear about the shootings and resulting deaths that occurred at Bell Tower Shops last night and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families…
“We take the safety of our patrons very seriously and we have procedures in place to help protect our patrons and staff. We want to thank our staff who acted professionally and efficiently during the time of crisis. We also cannot thank Sheriff Carmine Marceno and the LCSO team enough for acting quickly and swiftly.”
Society is open regular hours.
Trust WINK News to update this story and bring you more information as it becomes available.
Anyone with information should contact Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477).
All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000. Tips may also be made online or by submitting a tip on the P3Tips mobile app.
If you were at the Bell Tower tonight, and have any information on the suspect(s) who opened fire, we need to hear from you! Call us 24/7 at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477)!
— SWFL Crime Stoppers (@SWFLCrime8477) October 10, 2018