FORT MYERS, Fla. — A performer who took the stage just minutes before fatal shots were fired at Club Blu is upset more people aren’t coming forward with information about the case.
The artist known simply as Nieya admits she had problems with the staff regarding her performance but said she had nothing to do with the shooting, which killed two teens, including Lehigh Senior High basketball star Stef’an Strawder, an old friend of hers.
“I was running when those bullets were flying just like everybody else,” she said.
Nieya was terrified as she took cover in her car while the hail of bullets came through the parking lot. When she emerged, the feeling turned to devastation.
“When I got out the car I seen a body right there and a body right there and people getting in cars just screaming,” she said.
A few more tips trickled in Wednesday, Crime Stoppers told WINK News, but law enforcement has largely been frustrated as few leads have developed and even those wounded in the attack have withdrawn their statements. Nieya is confident some know more than they’re letting on.
Wednesday marked the first time she’s been back to the club since that deadly night. She kept her distance from the building because she wasn’t ready to see the memorial.
“Every night I got to sleep, I think about it,” she said.
The evening of July 24 wasn’t going well for Nieya even before shots were fired shortly after midnight. She said club staff forced people at the teen party held there that night to pay who weren’t supposed to pay and let people in who weren’t supposed to be there.
She said she was only given the chance to perform one song before the house lights came on, upsetting both her and the audience. Nieya announced on the microphone that she would never play the club again.
“They were just in it for the money and when they got it they wanted to shut it all down,” Nieya said. “I was all, man this is messed up, y’all didn’t pay me for the show, so I snatched my posters … and threw it … and as soon as I threw it, that’s when I heard gunshots … pop, pop, pop, pop, and I ran.”
Soon, in a chilling encounter, she noticed the body of Strawder laying in front of the club.
“I was bent down and was like he got shot,” Nieya said. “His pants area was bloody. I was like, ‘Where he got shot? What’s going on?’ I bent down and he was like ‘mmmm’ like that. He had blood coming from his mouth.”
The two had known each other since childhood but lost their connection over the years.
“Me and Stef’an grew up together,” she said. “As soon as we grew up we had no communication. The first time seeing him he was laying on that ground. It was crazy.”