14-year-old, 18-year-old basketball star shot dead; victims as young as 12 fighting for life in teen club shooting

A 14-year-old boy and a rising high school basketball star have been murdered and at least 16 more have been wounded in a mass shooting outside a Florida nightclub.

The gunman opened fire in the parking lot hitting children as young as 12 outside Club Blu Bar and Grill, in Fort Myer during a teen disco night shortly after 12.30am.

The two people who were killed are 18-year-old Stef’an Strawder, who attended the party, and 14-year-old Sean Archilles, who was standing on a street corner near the club when the gunman started shooting.

Sean’s father, Jean Robert Archilles was photographed outside the nightclub on Monday morning while he was being told by a Fort Myers victims advocate that his son had been killed.

Police arrested the suspected gunman and two other people at different locations but continue to search for other suspects.

14-year-old Sean Archilles' father, Jean Robert, breaks down as he speaks about his son's murder near Club Blu in Fort Myers on Monday 

Jean Robert Archilles said 'I don't know what a 14-year-old can do to someone,' after learning of the death of his son Sean (pictured)

A gunman opened fire in a parking lot of a Florida nightclub, hitting children as young as 12. Pictured is the scene of the shooting 

Mr Archilles was leaning forward and had his head resting on his arm, and appeared to be holding back tears as he heard the news.

‘I don’t know what a 14-year-old can do to someone,’ he told News Press, before adding that some of Sean’s friends were also shot.

Emma Decimus, Sean’s aunt, said witnesses told her that her 14-year-old nephew was one of those who had been murdered.

‘They saw him on the ground,’ Decimus said.

Another relative, Adline Azemard, said she was told by family member of the news, News Press reports.

‘My cousin called and said Sean is dead,’ Azemard said. ‘They should have had security.’

Family members said Strawder died after he was shot in the stomach, according to NBC2.

Just hours earlier he had posted on social media, asking friends if they were going to the nightclub.

‘I’m Thinking About Going To This Party Who All Going?’ the 18-year-old basketball star at Lehigh Senior High School wrote.

Loved ones openly weep and embrace after the fatal shooting in Fort Myers, Florida

Social media has been flooded with tributes to Strawder from family and friends since news of his death spread, many describing how talented he was on the basketball court.

Sade Strawder shared an emotional message on Facebook after her brother died: ‘When you’re trying to be strong but really deep down inside you’re breaking down. I thought I experienced one of the hardest situations when I lost my baby father but losing a sibling is worse. Thats my baby brother, He was a good kid and had a bright future. I love you Dee.’

Strawder’s mother, Stephanie White, said his 19-year-old sister, Sharrelle, was shot in the leg while at the nightclub, according to News Press.

At least three people are in custody after the shooting, Fort Myers Police Department Capt. Jim Mulligan said, according to WINK News.

Fort Myers mayor Randy Henderson told a council meeting the weapons used in the shooting had been recovered.

A car hit by gunfire is removed outside of Club Blu where two people were killed during a shooting on Monday

The shooting comes just six weeks after 49 people were murdered and 53 wounded while partying in Orlando, when a gunman opened fire inside Pulse – a local gay nightclub – on June 12.

The previous attack, carried out by Omar Mateen, was the worst gun massacre in U.S. history.

It sparked fresh debate on gun control, with President Barack Obama saying at the time: ‘We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.’

Club Blu posted a statement on Facebook, saying it is 'deeply sorry for all involved'. 'We tried to give the teens what we thought was a safe place to have a good time,' the statement read

In this most recent shooting, officials say three people remain hospitalized after the shooting.

A spokeswoman for Lee Memorial Health System said two victims are still in intensive care, while one is in a fair condition.

Dr Andrew Mikulaschek earlier told a press conference that the hospital operates a massive transfusion protocol, whereby doctors will use massive amounts of blood to save someone’s life.

‘This can work well in some case but it also depletes our stock,’ he said.

Sgarlata appealed for blood donations for the hospital and directed potential donors to the hospital’s website for more details.

The victims are aged between 12 and 27 according to hospital sources.

Fort Myers interim police chief Dennis Eads said in a press conference on Monday afternoon the shooting was in no way linked to terrorism.

‘This was not an act of terror. This was not a terrorist act. You can put that out of your mind,’ Eads said.

The interim chief would not answer questions about who the shooters were targeting.

During the same press conference, Governor Rick Scott said: ‘The first thing we have to do is thank law enforcement.’

‘If it wasn’t for them we would’ve had more tragedy,’ Governor Scott said.

He went on to add: ‘Our heart goes out to everybody impacted by this. This is a time to mourn for these families, any family never wakes up expecting to lose loved ones’.

Witnesses described the scene at Monday’s shooting as that of a ‘mad house’, with some saying how they were forced to take shelter under cars as bullets continued to fly around the parking lot.

The shooting happened outside the club that was hosting a ‘Swimsuit Glow Party’.

The gunman was arrested at a third location. Police said the two locations were connected to the nightclub shooting.

Witnesses reported hearing at least 30 rounds being fired during the incident.

Timothy Settles wrote on Facebook that he did not want to die.

His aunt Kay Lyn Love wrote on Facebook: ‘Hope u ok nephew i will be there to see u Asap.’

The club released a statement on its Facebook page stating the incident happened at closing time when the young people were leaving.

According to the statement: ‘We are deeply sorry for all involved. We tried to give the teens WHAT WE THOUGHT WAS A SAFE PLACE TO HAVE A GOOD TIME.

‘Ages 12-17. There was armed security as well as full security,inside and out. As the club was closing and parents were picking their children up…..that’s when all this took place.

‘There was nothing more we could of done az you see it was not kids at the party that did this despicable act.’

Last week the club hosted a ‘Girls go Wild’ party dubbed the ‘no panties edition’.

A nearby home on Parkway Street and vehicles were also shot at, resulting in one minor injury, police said in a statement.

A spokesman said: ‘At this time the scene is still very active as investigators and crime scene personnel attempt to determine what had occurred.’

President Obama has recently condemned the spate of gun murders in the United States and the failure of Congress to act on the issue.

Last month, Democrats staged an unprecedented 24-hour sit-in in Congress after Republicans refused to allow a vote on two widely supported measures.

Police do not yet have a motive for the fatal shooting.

‘I can’t believe we are alive. We had to pray’: Witnesses tell how gunman opened fire outside packed nightclub

Witnesses described the scene at Monday’s shooting as that of a ‘mad house’.

Syreeta Gary’s daughter survived the attack. Speaking on a Twitter video, she said: ‘Well, I just thank God that my daughter is okay. She could have been shot. She was dodging bullets and dropping between cars.

‘It is ridiculous that kids have to go through this and they cannot enjoy themselves because you have people with criminalistic minds who want to terrorize people.

‘I’m just glad that she’s okay.

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