After Fort Myers nightclub shooting, area 'deemed safe' by police
Fort Myers, Fla., police say they have taken three people into custody following a mass shooting at a nightclub that has left two people dead and more than a dozen injured.
Hours after a deadly shooting took place at Club Blu nightclub in Fort Myers, Fla., police say they have deemed the surrounding area safe.
As many as 17 people were shot, and at least two killed, just after 12:30 a.m. Eastern time on Monday, police Capt. Jim Mulligan told the Associated Press. Shots were also fired five blocks away from the nightclub, resulting in minor injuries for one person, police said.
Three people have been taken into custody for questioning, and police were "actively canvassing the area looking for other persons who may be involved in this incident," authorities said in a statement. Local television station Fort Myers NBC affiliate WBBH reported that three people left the scene in a car following the shooting with two later fleeing the vehicle.
Police have not yet released details about the suspected shooters. Investigators continue to look into the shooting to determine a motive, but authorities do not believe it was “an act of terror,” said Capt. Jim Mulligan, a Fort Myers police spokesman.
The nightclub was reportedly hosting a "swimsuit glow party" for middle and high school students, according to a Facebook post by Club Blu that was later deleted. Some of the victims shot were as young as 12 years old, and the oldest was 27, NBC News reports.
Sixteen people were taken to the hospital, where one died and two are currently in intensive care. WBBH reported that both people killed were male.
When the shooting began, "a big crowd of people scattered everywhere taking cover," WBBH reporter Gabrielle Shirley said.
She described one employee who was left speechless by the tragedy. "He was just shaking his head, and through tears giving me the indication again that this is a very, very traumatic experience here, he could not even form words," she said.
The mother of one young clubgoer, Syreeta Gary, said her daughter dodged bullets and that her daughter's best friend was shot in the leg as they ran out of the club.
"I just thank God that my daughter is O.K. because she could've been shot," Ms. Gary said in a video posted on Twitter by Malcolm Johnson, a reporter with local news station FOX4. "Her dodging bullets, running, dropping between cars, it's ridiculous that these kids have to go through this. They can't enjoy themselves because you have other people with criminalistic minds, and they just want to terrorize people."
In a Facebook post Monday morning, Club Blu wrote that "we are deeply sorry for all involved," adding that there had been armed security "as well as full security, inside and out" and that "there was nothing more we could of done."
The shooting comes six weeks after 49 people were killed and 53 others wounded in a mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the deadliest in modern US history.
This report contains material from the Associated Press.