First Club Blu Mass Shooting Defendant Found Guilty as Charged

The first defendant to be tried for their involvement in the 2016 Club Blu mass shooting in Fort Myers, Kierra Kashayla Russ, has been found guilty as charged. The 24-year-old Lehigh Acres resident was convicted of two counts of Second Degree Murder and one count of Conspiracy to Commit Murder. The jury returned the guilty verdict after deliberating for just over two
hours, following a six-day trial in Lee County. Russ was then remanded to the custody of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office without bond.

State Attorney’s Office Homicide Unit prosecutor, Assistant State Attorney Sara Miller and Special Prosecutions Assistant State Attorney, the late Anthony Kunasek, prosecuted the case.

The crime occurred on July 24, 2016, when an 18-year-old and a 14-year-old were killed outside of Club Blu after gunfire erupted. One victim died in the parking lot and the other victim was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. There were fourteen others injured in the shooting that night.

Evidence presented at trial showed Russ was inside the club the night of the shooting and received texts from her friend, and now a co-defendant, asking her to let him know about the location of “opps,” or people with whom he had been feuding with. She replied that she would “peep” out what cars the opps were driving afterward. She then provided information to the co-defendant. Shortly thereafter, cars pulled up and multiple shots were fired at the crowd leaving the club. The hectic scene had people running for cover and ducking to avoid being shot.

The Fort Myers Police Department headed the investigation. “Operation Club Blu” was then formed and the resources of the Fort Myers Police Department, the FBI, State Attorney’s Office, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, and U.S. Marshals Service were joined to exhaustively gather evidence.

The collected evidence was then presented to the multi-agency Club Blu Task Force, formed by State Attorney Amira Fox, for review and analysis. On December 9, 2020 the work of the task force led to the arrest of five people, including the defendant, for the crimes.

Sentencing for Russ is scheduled for June 6. The co-defendants charged in this case; Demetrius O’Neal, Derrick Leon Church, Tajze Akir Battle, and Don Dontrill Loggins, are awaiting trial.

Samantha Syoen – Communications Director, State Attorney’s Office