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Basketball Showcase Honors Slain Club Blu Victim

Quincy J. Walters
In the foreground, a man wearing a "Survive And Advance" t-shirt is sitting courtside. In front of him, various basketball players are on the court and in the background are bleachers of spectatos with a "Go Lightning" banner hanging overhead.

On the night Stef'An Strawder was killed last year, the Lehigh Senior High Schooler was with his basketball teammates at Club Blu.

This week marks a year since the mass shooting at Club Blu in Fort Myers. Eighteen people were shot and injured. Two people, including Strawder, were killed. 

This Wednesday night--one year and two days after Strawder's murder--his memory was honored with an inaugural showcase named after him. The purpose was to give high school basketball players around the state the chance to play for college coaches. 

It was sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. 

Credit Quincy J. Walters / WGCU News
High school basketball players register to play in the showcase. On the registration table is a portrait of Stef'An Strawder, a Lehigh High School basketball player who was killed last year at Club Blu.

Strawder's mom, Stephanie White, was there. She wore a t-shirt with images of her son. She said it's the first time she's stepped foot on a basketball court since her son died. 

"Well, right now, we'd expect to see him come out there, but he's not," White said. "So, I guess by the players playing, they represent him in a big way." 

According to WINK News, police had three men in custody hours after the shooting. They were charged with resisting arrest. 

The Fort Myers Police Department would not confirm these details and said they can't comment because they turned their investigation over to the State Attorney's Office. 

Trish Routte, with Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers, said no one has been charged for the deaths of Stef'An Strawder or Sean Archilles--the 14-year-old who was also killed that night at the teen club. 

"This is still a high priority case. We're looking at different people," she said. "The sad thing is there are people that were there that night. They saw what happened, they know what happened. It's never too late to come forward and do the right thing." 

Strawder's mom, Stephanie White, said he dreamed of playing college basketball and then going into the NBA. The showcase in his honor was intended to make that dream come true for another promising high school basketball player. 

Credit Courtesy of Crime Stoppers
Courtesy of Crime Stoppers
Stef'An Strawder with a basketball

White said she remembers what was written on one of Strawder's athletic leggings. 

"One of them is 'Watch me shock the world'," she said. "And I think he's doing that right about now." 

White said if her son were alive today, she has no doubt he'd be well on his way to the NBA. 

Quincy Walters is a reporter and backup host for WGCU.
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