“This kid was going places,” a friend wrote of Stef’an Strawder, 18, who died early Monday.
A promising high school basketball player and a 14-year-old boy have been identified as the two people killed when shots rang out at a southwest Florida nightclub that was hosting a teen night.
Stef’an Strawder, 18, and Sean Archilles, 14, were outside Fort Myers’ Club Blu early Monday when they were fatally shot in the parking lot. At least 16 other people were wounded, according to reports.
Strawder was loving life and chasing a dream of playing basketball professionally when his life was senselessly cut short, according to those who knew him.
“He had many colleges looking at him,” Lakesha Maria Robinson, who said she knew Strawder through her work with teens in the Fort Myers community, told The Huffington Post Monday.
“I’m so heartbroken for him,” she added, calling Strawder a “very good kid.”
“Google his name, [there’s] nothing but good things,” she said.
Strawder’s family told NBC 2 that his younger sister was also shot in the leg.
“I’m thinking about going to this party who all going?” one of his last Facebook posts read.
Memorials for Strawder quickly began popping up on his Facebook page as news of his death spread. Most of the posts made mention of his athletic talents.
At least one person referred to him as the Stephen Curry of Fort Myers, while another insisted: “He was doing things at the age of 10 that Steph Curry couldn’t do til he was an adult.”
“This kid was going places. Don’t let his size [fool] you, he was the best baller in the hood,” a post by Dedrick King Douglas reads. “He was at least 90% from the 3point line. And shooting pass NBA range 8/10 at the age of 10.”
Darien Kashh, who played on a travel basketball team with Strawder, also described his 5-foot-8 height as anything but a handicap when he had a ball in his hands.
He “worked so hard [that] his size didn’t matter on the court,” he told HuffPost.
“He could shoot the ball from anywhere behind the 3-point line. Everyone hated playing on the opposite team as him,” Kashh said, describing Strawder as the high school’s “basketball star” who “cared about everyone.”
“That man was literally that gas on the court,” Acee Smith, another friend, wrote of Strawder on Facebook. “I’m talkin bout three after three. I told that boy he can’t play nomo cause he cheating.”
“In our travel game he made us win hitting 3 threes in a row from dam near half court,” Darien Kashh added to Smith’s comment.
“He was a great kid with a bright future. Gone way [too] early,” basketball coach Guy Hensley tweeted.
Strawder played basketball for Lehigh Senior High School in Lehigh Acres, Florida, a suburb of Fort Myers, according to the school’s website.
He was drawing attention from a number of schools while playing as a point guard, according to an Instagram account that highlights college and high school basketball players in Florida. The schools taking an interest in Strawder included San Jose State, Gonzaga University, Georgia Southern and Florida Gulf Coast.
“I am a hard worker I get good grades I am a role model on and off the court … I am just a winner in a complete player,” Strawder’s recruiting profile on the National Collegiate Scouting Association’s website reads.
Stephanie White, Strawder’s mother, told a local reporter that her son had gone to church Sunday morning and later hugged his family before heading out for the night.
“They told him they loved him,” reporter Cory Mull tweeted after speaking with Strawder’s mom.
“He was the easiest person to get along with,” White said of her son. “He was unselfish. He loves kids.”
Monday morning’s shooting came just weeks after another shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub left 49 people dead. That attack was roughly 160 miles away.