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Shooting at festival in Clewiston leaves Lee County woman dead, 3 people injured

The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office confirms a woman was killed and three other people were injured in a shooting Saturday night at the annual Brown Sugar Festival in Clewiston.

Deputies in the area of Harlem Academy Avenue and 12th Street heard gunshots at about 9:30 p.m., they said.

The victim who died has been identified as Evereonna Sankey, 20, of Lee County.

The Brown Sugar Festival is a cherished tradition in Hendry County. Two thousand people flooded the streets in Clewiston’s Harlem community on Saturday.

The Brown Sugar Festival raises money for scholarships, according to its website.

Neighbors are devastated that this day of celebration ended in tragedy.

“I began to hear shooting in different areas. I see people running; I can’t run, I’m immobile,” said Adrian Windley said. “That’s what made me mad or upset, it was that a lot of children was out here.”

Rev. Gwen Patrick-Griffiths is the president of the Harlem Academy Alumni association. “We are so saddened because of what has happened. It’s just horrible to know that someone came to our community to have a great time and lost their life.”

Patrick-Griffiths also helps organize the festival and says the community wanted the festival to return. It was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic and those same concerns were present this year.

Organizers were pleased to hear that the county commission gave the festival the go-ahead just two weeks ago.

The sheriff’s office said they would have a hard time covering the festival on such short notice.

At the end of the night, board members had to direct traffic and had trouble due to the lack of deputies present.

“We just need them here when we need them, and our instructions were that if something happens, call us and we’ll come,” Patrick-Griffith said.

The sheriff’s office says normally they are given four to six months’ notice to bring in mutual aid from neighboring departments but this time, they were only given a few days.

The conditions of the other victims are not known.

Investigators are asking if anyone has any information regarding the shooting to contact the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office at 863-674-5600.

Reporter:Zach Oliveri
Writer:WINK News
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