First Fort Myers council meeting since Club Blu shooting

Posted at 10:55 PM, Aug 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-02 07:17:18-04

The Fort Myers City Council met for the first time since the Club Blu shooting on Monday.

The council meeting opened with meditation and prayer.

"Council is reeling from this. Every citizen in Fort Myers is reeling from this," Mayor Randy Henderson said.

Members of the public took to the podium with their suggestions on how to combat the violence.

Larry Aguilar from the Quality Life Center pushed the Pennies for Progress program.  "If we concentrate solely on eradicating poverty, then some of that violence is going to dissipate immediately," Aguilar said.

Councilwoman Terolyn Watson said the program is great for the future of our youngest, but that it won't stop the shootings happening now.

"We got to get to these parents, the mothers of the ones that are the shooters, and talk to them. Until we do that, the shooting are going to continue," Watson said.

While preventing future crimes has been a major concern, an equal issue is solving the Club Blu shooting.

The murderers are still on the loose, and all three persons of interest in the case have not been charged.

"We need to find out who they are. We need to get the evidence. We need to get them back behind bears where they can't be a threat to anyone," Mayor Henderson said.

Community Activist Anthony Thomas went before the council, suggesting two programs to track down the shooters.

"Often times in the minority community, snitches get stitches. We need to change that to 'snitches get paid,'" Thomas said.

He suggested joining forces with the School Board and County Commission to raise $200,000 as a reward for information leading to the murderer's arrests and convictions.

His second idea was to combat witnesses and victims fear of retaliation with a stronger Witness Protection Program.

"If we had Witness Protection Program that moved them out of the city, out of the county until the trial is over, you make it safe for them to cooperate with law-enforcement," Thomas said.

Mayor Henderson said he could get behind the idea.

"Typically, at the municipal level, it's not something we are commonly engaged in, but I do know that that discussion is one that should be coming forward, and I intend to pursue that," Mayor Henderson said.