The father of one the teens fatally shot outside a Fort Myers, Florida, nightclub early Monday remembered his 14-year-old son as a "funny kid" and said he doesn't wish bad for the shooter.
“He liked to make people laugh. He's a funny kid. He's always joking,'' Jean Archilles said of his son, Sean Archilles, The Associated Press reported.
Sean Archilles and Stef'an Strawder, 18, were gunned down outside Club Blu, which was hosting an event for teens, shortly after 12:30 a.m., police said.
Strawder was a senior at Lehigh Senior High School, where he was a member of the school’s basketball team.
Over a dozen more victims were also wouned in the shooting and transferred to area hospitals, some in critical condition. Hospital officials said they were aged between 12 and 27.
It was not immediately clear what sparked the shooting, but police ruled out terrorism. Three people have been detained and police were looking to speak with some of the victims who were treated and released from the hospital and haven't yet spoken with investigators.
Jean Archilles said his son lived about a mile from Club Blu. He said he loved to play football and basketball.
Of the person who killd his son, Jean Archilles said: “When he lays down in his bed, how is he feeling about what he did? A 14-year-old kid! Is he thinking about his family, his friends? Because everybody has family and friends. Does he feel good about himself?''
A family friend told The New York Times that Strawder, who went by the nickname Dee, was a star basketball player who aspired to play college ball.
"He was like a son to me,” said the friend, Blanca Figueroa, 40. “He was a great kid, always was playing. He never would get tired.”
Parents whose children were at the event described the chaotic scene. Syreeta Gary told a local media outlet that her daughter ran and dodged between shots to avoid being shot. Her daughter was OK, but her daughter's friend "got hit in the leg and luckily it's just her leg,'' she said.
“Her dodging bullets and running, dropping in between cars, it's ridiculous that these kids have to go through this,'' Gary said. "They can't enjoy themselves because you have other people that have criminalistic minds and they just want to terrorize things.''
Sylvia Bargouthi, a mother who didn't know any of the victims said the shooting "breaks my hear. No family should have to endure this kind of pain. Children should be able to enjoy their life without being brutally murdered."
Bargouthi carried a small stuffed animal with her and placed it near the club's entrance.