Saturday 24 February 2018

Police name teenagers killed in nightclub shooting

Scene of the mass shooting in Fort Myers, Florida (Photo: Facebook/NBC Station WBBH)
Scene of the mass shooting in Fort Myers, Florida (Photo: Facebook/NBC Station WBBH)

Rachael Revesz

The two victims of a deadly shooting in a Florida nightclub have been identified. Sean Archilles (14) and Stefan Strawder (18) have been named as the two who were killed in the shooting, which saw more than a dozen other people injured in the early hours of yesterday.

Teenagers ran to dodge bullets being fired outside Clu Blu in Fort Myers, Florida, which was hosting a "swimsuit glow party". The shooting happened just over one month after the neighbouring city of Orlando was witness to the worst shooting in modern US history, when a lone gunman killed 49 people.

Stefan has been described on social media as a promising basketball player at Lehigh Senior High School and as "always smiling". His cousin, Bre'anna Jones, said on Facebook: "My heart is broken...I'm not ready to say goodbye." His basketball coach, Guy Hensley, also posted a tribute on Twitter, describing the death as "every coach's nightmare".

Earlier that evening, Stefan has asked his friends on Facebook who was going with him to the party at the nightclub.

The other victim was 14-year-old Sean Archilles, who had a twin brother. Sean lived about a mile from the nightclub, said his father, Jean Archilles. Mr Archilles said his son loved to play football and basketball.

"He liked to make people laugh. He's a funny kid. He's always joking," Jean Archilles said. The two victims were among the 16 youths, aged between 12 and 27, who were injured just after midnight when parents arrived to pick up their children.

Four people were in the hospital, two were in critical condition and two in fair condition, Lee Memorial Health System CEO Lisa Sgarlata said at a news conference. All of the other patients were released.

Armed security at the club, which lost its alcohol licence in June, was reportedly present in and outside the club when the shooting broke out.

Police have arrested three people in relation to the shooting but are yet to establish a motive. They said in a statement that the incident was not an "act of terror".

Irish Independent

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