More charges possible for three men arrested after Florida club shooting
By Letitia Stein
TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) – Three men arrested for resisting authorities near the scene a nightclub shooting where two teenagers were killed are persons of interest in the investigation and could see further charges, authorities said on Tuesday.
The shooting on Monday in the parking lot of Club Blu, in which more than a dozen people also were wounded, came six weeks after 49 people were killed at an Orlando nightclub by a man who sympathized with Islamic extremists groups.
Police in Fort Myers, located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, said they have ruled out any extremist ties to the Club Blu shooting but on Tuesday said they had not developed any possible motives.
“Still investigating, interviewing and following up,” Captain Jim Mulligan, a police spokesman, said in an email to Reuters on Tuesday afternoon.
No one has been charged in the shooting but authorities on Monday arrested three young men seen near the scene who fled from them. They were charged in connection to that pursuit, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said.
According to the agency, Derrick Church, 19, was charged with assault on a law enforcement officer after accelerating his vehicle toward a sheriff’s deputy. A deputy shot him in the stomach and he was treated and released from a hospital.
Demetrius O’Neal, 19, and Tajze Battle, 22, were charged with resisting law enforcement, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.
The men are considered persons of interest in the shooting, and Fort Myers police are investigating to determine if additional charges will be brought, Sergeant Matt McDaniel, a sheriff’s spokesman, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
Police said on Monday they were searching for additional suspects in connection with the shooting.
Two people remained hospitalized in critical condition on Tuesday, hospital officials said.
The shooting took place shortly after 12:30 a.m. EDT (0430 GMT) on Monday as a party open to teenagers was wrapping up.
Stef’An Strawder, 18, a high school basketball star, and Sean Archilles, 14, were killed in the incident. At least 19 people, ranging in age from 12- to 27-years-old, were wounded and treated at local hospitals.
(Reporting by Letitia Stein; Writing by Laila Kearney; Editing by Bill Trott)