Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Public safety

One dead, at least 2 hurt in shooting at Brandon nightclub

BRANDON — Officials say the fight began over a woman's lost purse at a crowded nightclub.

It spilled into the parking lot of the Boomerang Martini Club just before the club's 3 a.m. closing time.

A man flashed a gun and opened fire on another man. When he refused to put the gun away, the nightclub's security officer intervened.

"It was a very chaotic scene," said Hillsborough County Sheriff's spokeswoman Samara Sodos, who gave this account of Saturday's fatal shooting.

Hundreds had gathered at the Brandon night spot for a performance by Reggaeton star Farruko.

The purse belonged to the girlfriend of 28-year-old Louis Kuilan-Maysonet. When Christopher Gonzalez-Cartagena, 29, tried to walk toward his car, Kuilan-Maysonet fired several shots at him.

The nightclub's security guard, Andre Jennings, saw the scene unfold, Sodos said. He ordered Kuilan-Maysonet to stop shooting. Instead, Sodos said, Kuilan-Maysonet spun towards Jennings, 25, with the gun in his hands. Jennings, who has a concealed weapons permit, fired his own gun several times, hitting Kuilan-Maysonet.

Kuilan-Maysonet was taken to Brandon Regional Hospital, where he later died.

Gonzalez-Cartagena, who suffered several gunshot wounds, including a graze to the head, was taken to Tampa General Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

So was club-goer Alejandro Salavarrieta, 22, who was shot in the leg. Deputies said it is unclear who shot him.

"I was walking to my car after the concert was over and I heard gunshots," Salavarrieta said on Saturday afternoon as he was headed into surgery.

"The first thing I did was squat down behind a car. When I tried to get up, I had been shot in the leg."

Salavarrieta said he later heard many conflicting stories about how the shooting started.

The case is under investigation. The State Attorney's Office will review whether any charges should be filed.

"Jennings was doing his job," Sodos said. "Whether or not there was a crime involved has to be reviewed."

Jennings is a licensed security officer, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Licensing.

He is listed as a manager of the Eagle Group, a local security firm registered with the state, according to the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations.

In 2009, Jennings was arrested on a charge of aggravated battery on a pregnant female, according to state records. The charge was later dropped.

The nightclub was about half full for the performance, said Denny Vargas, a promoter for the event.

Vargas was walking back inside the club from the parking lot behind it when he heard about 20 shots fired, he said. A couple dozen people still inside locked the doors until the shooting ended.

"There were just too many shots," he said. Vargas saw one of the victims run in front of the building and collapse with a leg injury. When it was over, Vargas went back to the parking lot and saw another victim on the ground.

Vargas said the incident was surprising.

"We've had fights here and there but nothing like that," he said.

The nightclub, which is at 2016 Town Center Blvd. east of the Westfield Brandon mall and next to a Buffalo Wild Wings, has attracted the attention of law enforcement officers before.

In 2007, a stray bullet killed a mother of three after an argument broke out between a group of men inside. Then called Club Fusion, the business has changed names several times.

Since 2008, there have been dozens of calls to service to the club, including five assault and battery complaints this year, records show. Other calls include fights and theft.

"We do have an unusually high number of calls for service at this club," Sodos said.

Times researchers Tim Rozgonyi and John Martin contributed to this report. Shelley Rossetter can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 661-2442.

Comments
SB traffic on I-275 slowed in St. Petersburg after car jumps median

SB traffic on I-275 slowed in St. Petersburg after car jumps median

ST. PETERSBURG — A car that is straddling the center concrete barrier is causing a visual slowdown Wednesday morning on Interstate 275.The incident occurred sometime around 7:30 a.m.The passenger side of the car can be seen hanging along the median o...
Updated: 2 hours ago
New Port Richey man faces sexual battery charge

New Port Richey man faces sexual battery charge

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 33-year-old man was arrested Monday on a charge of sexual battery, accused of assaulting a 10-year-old girl.Jonathan Wells was booked into the Pasco County jail, where he was being held Tuesday without bail.The assault took place ...
Published: 06/19/18
St. Petersburg power outage affects thousands

St. Petersburg power outage affects thousands

More than 2,000 Duke Energy customers are without power after a cluster of storms rolled through earlier this afternoon, according to Duke Energy.The area without power stretches along 62nd Avenue N from 12th Street N to 30th Way N, according to the ...
Published: 06/19/18
Safety Harbor fire chief departs: ‘Take pride in the job’

Safety Harbor fire chief departs: ‘Take pride in the job’

SAFETY HARBOR — When Fire Chief Joe Accetta started working at the Safety Harbor Fire Department, Fire Station 53 was a double wide in the middle of a field now home to Mease Countryside Hospital.Now almost four decades of challenges and promotions l...
Published: 06/19/18
Deputies search for suspects in rapper XXXTentacion slaying

Deputies search for suspects in rapper XXXTentacion slaying

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. — Deputies were searching for suspects Tuesday after troubled rapper-singer XXXTentacion was fatally shot in the driver’s seat of a luxury electric sports car. The 20-year-old rising star, who pronounced his stage name "Ex Ex Ex...
Published: 06/19/18
Lakeland father, girlfriend face charges in death of 6-year-old girl

Lakeland father, girlfriend face charges in death of 6-year-old girl

A Lakeland man and his girlfriend face charges of first-degree murder and aggravated manslaughter in the death of his 6-year-old daughter last week.Larry Lewis Golden Jr., 26, Breonna B. Wren, 21, were arrested Friday and are being held without bail ...
Published: 06/19/18
Argument over dog leads to fatal shooting in Polk County

Argument over dog leads to fatal shooting in Polk County

A Fort Meade man was killed Monday night and two others were wounded after Polk County deputies say they approached a man while searching for a lost dog.The shooting occurred around 6:45 p.m. at the home of suspected shooter Charles Peddycoart, at 41...
Published: 06/19/18
Deadly Sunday for swimmers in bay area waters

Deadly Sunday for swimmers in bay area waters

Two people drowned and another suffered life-threatening injuries in the waters of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.Investigators said all three cases appear to be accidents, but the incidents stand as a reminder that summer, with vacation ...
Published: 06/18/18
Pinellas deputies arrest Mississippi man 31 years after sexual battery

Pinellas deputies arrest Mississippi man 31 years after sexual battery

SEMINOLE — She was 22 when deputies said a man forced her at knifepoint into the woods off Seminole Boulevard and sexually battered her in February 1987.The case went cold, but now the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said it has arrested the man it ...
Published: 06/18/18
Tampa police seek driver who struck pedestrian and drove off

Tampa police seek driver who struck pedestrian and drove off

TAMPA — Police are seeking the public’s help in locating the driver who fatally struck a pedestrian on Sunday night and then drove off.The incident took place at 9:15 p.m. near the intersection of N Nebraska Avenue and E Linebaugh Avenue.No details a...
Published: 06/18/18