FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers is asking for the public's help generating any information on the deadly shootings at Club Blu Monday morning.
It's still unknown who started the shootout and the club, which left two teens dead, because little to no tips are coming in from witnesses. Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers Coordinator Trish Routte told Fox 4 there is a wealth of information out in the public, but not a wealth of information coming into law enforcement. "There were people that absolutely knew the players that were involved. There are people that absolutely knew these people had weapons and there are people that absolutely knew that they had the menace in their hearts to kill someone," Routte said.
Fort Myers Police told Fox 4 several shooting victims withdrew their complaints before leaving the hospital. Some victims refused to talk to police in the first place, making it impossible for law enforcement to prosecute anyone. "One of our offices was shot at in the name of community safety," Routte said. "And these people won't even cooperate?"
Routte said some people don't trust the Crime Stoppers system because they lack understanding of how it works. "When you call Crime Stoppers or when you go online, you're given a code number, which is a series of 5 or 6 numbers and that's truly the only way we ever know who you are," said said. "When you call us back to give more information or to pick up your reward money, it's all done through that code number. I could go into court today and swear on a bible that I don't know who any of our tipsters are."
Larry Aguilar, who runs the Quality of Life Center of Southwest Florida works first-hand with kids who fear retaliation if they talk to police. He even knows a 14-year-old girl who was shot in Sunday night's crossfire. "They're scared," he said. "One of the students said 'we've been approached before about keeping our mouths shut, you know. So it's a real fear."
He said the only way to change this "no snitching" mentality is through education. He expressed if we continue letting these people get away, the next time it could be you getting shot. "We want a safer community, but where do we start? Who starts it? I think it starts with us."
Anyone with any information on the persons responsible for the shootings, motives for the shootings, or even second hand information on things they may have heard or seen at Club Blu, or leading up to the attack, is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 from Crime Stoppers and $20,000 from the Fort Myers Police Department and the FBI. Tips may also be made online at www.southwestfloridacrimestoppers.com or by texting a tip to CRIMES (274637) Keyword: REWARD.