WATCH ABOVE: The father of one of the teens killed in the Florida nightclub shooting says he has too many good memories of his son Sean Archilles, he “cannot choose one” that is his favourite.
By Nicole Bogard, Global News
Fourteen-year-old Sean Archilles and 18-year-old Ste’Fan Strawder were killed early Monday during a shooting at a nightclub in Fort Myers, Florida.
The attack occurred at a teen party, billed as a “Swimsuit Glow Party,” at Club Blu nightclub. While it’s not yet clear what triggered the violence, police have ruled out terrorism.
Archilles lived about a mile from the nightclub, said his father, Jean Archilles. He 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.
On Facebook, Strawder was remembered as a high school basketball star with a promising career ahead of him.
“My heart is mourning for both teens. Stefan Strawder was not only apart of Hoops on Mission, but a little brother to me. Since he was in 4th grade, he has always come to me about basketball and life,” wrote Dwayne Jackson, founder of Hoops on Mission, a youth empowerment group centred on basketball.
“Today, I’m hurting for the amount of violence that plagues our city. The violence that breaks our city apart. But I’m holding onto God’s promises.”
In an interview with NBC 2, Strawder’s family said the teen’s younger sister was also shot in the leg during the event.
“You were the Fort Myers Steph Curry and you will never be forgotten. R.I.P lil cuz Stefan Strawder. All you wanted to do was ball and make it out,” wrote Facebook user Napoleon Rayner.
A Facebook page appearing to belong to Strawder has since been changed to a memorialized account, which happens when Facebook is notified of a death by the account holder’s family or friends.
One of his last posts read, “Thinking about going to this party who all going?”
Seventeen others were injured during the Club Blu shooting. Four people remain in hospital; two are listed in critical condition and two in fair condition, said Lisa Sgarlata, the chief administrative officer at Lee Memorial Health System. The victims ranged in ages from 12 to 27.
“It breaks my heart. No family should have to endure this kind of pain,” said Sylvia Bargouthi, a mother who didn’t know any of the victims. “Children should be able to enjoy their life without being brutally murdered.”
A post on Club Blu’s Facebook page said there was armed security at the event.
“We are deeply sorry for all involved,” the post read. “We tried to give teens what we thought was a safe place to have a good time.”
(with files from The Associated Press)