3 men arrested after deadly Fort Myers nightclub shooting

Derrick Church, 19, of Fort Myers; Tajze Battle, 22, of Fort Myers and Demetrius O'Neal, 19, of Lehigh Acres were arrested. Lee County Jail booking photos
Derrick Church, 19, of Fort Myers; Tajze Battle, 22, of Fort Myers and Demetrius O'Neal, 19, of Lehigh Acres were arrested. Lee County Jail booking photos

FORT MYERS, Fla. (WFLA) — The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has identified the three men who were arrested near the Club Blu scene after a shooting at the nightclub early Monday morning in which two people were killed and 17 others were wounded.

The trio was fleeing from authorities, according to a WBBH TV report.

Derrick Church, 19, of Fort Myers; Tajze Battle, 22, of Fort Myers and Demetrius O’Neal, 19, of Lehigh Acres were arrested. The men appeared in court on Tuesday morning.

Deputies told WBBH TV that when the trio was fleeing authorities, Church was driving and tried to run over a deputy, who shot him in the stomach. Battle and O’Neal were also in the car.

The men are not being called suspects in the shooting. All three were charged with resisting an officer. Church was also charged with assaulting an officer or firefighter.

Authorities say the shooting was not an act of terrorism. They are investigating the motive for the shooting, which killed 18-year-old Stef’an Strawder and 14-year-old Sean Archilles. 17 people ranging in age from 12 to 27 were wounded during a swimsuit-themed party for teens that was underway at the club during the shooting. State records online show the alcohol license for Club Blu was revoked on June 7. The mother of one of the victims said she had warned her son about nightclub shootings.

As of Tuesday, three shooting victims remained hospitalized. Two of the victims are in critical condition and the third is in fair condition.

Fort Myers Police Chief Dennis Eads said that his officers responded to a chaotic scene at Club Blu at about 12:30 a.m. and immediately started helping the wounded. He says some of the victims drove themselves to hospitals and others were taken there by ambulance.

The city of Fort Myers has opened a fund to assist the families affected by the shooting.

In a statement , the city announced a partnership with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and the United Way of Lee, Charlotte, Glades and Okeechobee Counties to open the TOGETHER Fort Myers fund.

Mayor Randall Henderson Jr. said there has been “a tremendous outpouring to our city from across the country.”

The United Way also is offering counseling services.

Sarah Owen of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation said the community was seeking donations and assistance much like it did after Hurricane Charley struck the area in 2004.

Donations can be made at http://www.FloridaCommunity.com.

Gov. Rick Scott promised the state would do everything it could to help the victims and hold those responsible accountable. He also noted that the shooting happened as the state is seeing a 45-year low in the crime rate.

 

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