First Club Blu Defendant Sentenced to Life in Prison

The first defendant to be tried for their involvement in the 2016 Club Blu mass shooting in Fort Myers, Kierra Kashayla Russ, was adjudicated guilty today and sentenced to life in prison on
each of two counts of Second Degree Murder. The 24-year-old Lehigh Acres resident was also sentenced to 15 years in prison for one count of Conspiracy to Commit Murder.

Russ was found guilty in May following a six-day trial in Lee County. State Attorney’s Office Homicide Unit prosecutor, Assistant State Attorney Sara Miller and Special Prosecutions Assistant State Attorney, the late Anthony “Tony” Kunasek, prosecuted the case.

The crime occurred on July 24, 2016, when an 18-year-old and a 14-year-old were shot to death outside of Club Blu after gunfire erupted. Fourteen others were injured.

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

“Mass shootings continue to be in the news in these recent days and weeks, and we have seen horrendous violence by evil individuals, seeking to kill or not caring if they kill, innocent people. Children merely sitting in their classroom in Texas, people at a grocery store in New York, workers, and medical staff in a medical building in Oklahoma, and already in June, outside a club in Tennessee, this weekend in a busy entertainment district in Philadelphia and a graduation party in South Carolina. I, as your State Attorney, and the law enforcement leaders throughout the 20th Judicial Circuit, have zero tolerance. These heartbreaking scenes, like the Club Blu mass shooting here in Southwest Florida, will be met with the full force of the law,” said State Attorney Fox.

Samantha Syoen – Communications Director, State Attorney’s Office