Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue workers load a shooting victim into an ambulance at Boomerang Martini Club.


Hillsborough County Fire Rescue workers load a shooting victim into an ambulance at Boomerang Martini Club.

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.

One dead, at least 2 hurt in shooting at Brandon nightclub 12/22/12 [Last modified: Saturday, December 22, 2012 9:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. It's official: Hillsborough high schools move to 8:30 a.m. start time, elementary schools to go earlier


    TAMPA — Hillsborough County high schools school will be in session from 8:30 a.m. to 3:25 p.m. starting in 2018-19, the School Board decided Tuesday in a 6-0 vote.

    The Hillsborough County School Board has decided to end a compressed bus schedule that caused an estimated 12,000 children to get to school late every day. Under the new schedule, high schools will start at 8:30 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m. Elementary schools will start at 7:40 a.m. and middle schools at 9:25 a.m. [Times files]
  2. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues


    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  3. The topic will be neighborhoods as Kriseman, Baker debate one more time


    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker will face off, possibly for the last time before the Nov. 7 election, in a candidate forum on Wednesday hosted by the influential Council of Neighborhood Associations.

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, left, and former Mayor Rick Baker during a September forum. The two will will face off, possibly for the last time before the Nov. 7 election, during  a candidate forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Sunshine Center, 330 5th St. N. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
  4. The upcoming Han Solo movie is called ... 'Solo'


    I hope you know what you're doing, Star Wars.

  5. Sen. Nelson urges FEMA to examine high number of denied flood claims


    Sen. Bill Nelson urged FEMA on Tuesday to ensure fairness, proper oversight and transparency in processing Hurricane Irma aid following a report by the Palm Beach Post that 90 percent of Irma claims under the National Flood Insurance Program had been denied.

    Sen. Bill Nelson is calling for FEMA to ensure the flood claims process post-Hurricane Irma is fair and ethical following reports that 90 percent of claims under the National Flood Insurance Program were denied. | [Times file photo]