Fort Myers police mum 1 year after violent night

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Fort Myers Police Department officials declined go on camera to address Friday’s anniversary of one of the most violent nights in city history, but they said the investigation continues.

Seven people were shot in a seven-hour span Sept. 23, 2015. No one was killed, but no arrests have been made.

“We don’t know what transpired. No one’s come forward,” Fort Myers City Councilman Johnny Streets said Friday. “We haven’t revealed anything through our own investigation.”

Among those shot were a 5-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl. There were four separate crime scenes, three of which former interim Fort Myers police chief Dennis Eads believed were connected.

New police chief Derrick Diggs, who took over in August, spent part of Friday in the latest of a series of community engagement meetings designed to improve the relationship between the force and residents, who were given the chance to express their frustration.

Many said that the officers they come across are generally rude and abrasive. Fort Myers resident Dr. Chanetta Brunson said she was a victim of false arrest.

“I felt really angry with the police at that time, so I kind of had no respect for them,” Brunson said.

Long before that encounter, she had a much more positive view of police based on the interaction with police she had as a child. That’s when officers were more neighborly, she said.

“The police would come to my home. Some of them would even come and sit down at the table,” Brunson said. “So, we need that to reoccur again.”

Streets said that despite the lack of arrests in the shootings of a year ago and continued violence, including the Club Blu mass shooting in July, he believes the community is getting safer. He supports a new police department initiative to install surveillance cameras in high-crime neighborhoods.

Still, Streets acknowledged the city has a long way to go.

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