Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Police look for shooters in Palmetto nightclub slaying

PALMETTO — Two people were killed and 22 others injured after a pair of gunmen opened fire at a nightclub early Saturday.

Officers were called to Club Elite, 704 10th St. W, at about 12:30 a.m. after getting a report of a shooting.

They found a chaotic scene. Hundreds of people were outside. Dozens had been rushed to area hospitals.

Near the club's front door, officers found Trayon Goff, 25, of Palmetto. Inside, they found Gwenette Matthews, 38, of Bradenton. Both were dead.

"It was a tough scene to work," said Lt. Scott Tyler, who said he arrived 20 minutes after the shooting. Police are still looking for the shooters.

They believe the shooters were outside the club, possibly on foot, and shooting into the crowd and club.

Tyler said detectives spent Saturday working various leads and planned to review surveillance video of the area.

"We have spoken to a bunch of people both at the scene and the victims," Tyler said. "Hopefully something pans out."

The club, about half a mile away from the police station, sits at the end of a strip mall that also includes a cell phone store and a hair salon.

On Facebook, Club Elite describes itself as a place for those 25 and up. Management did not respond to phone calls or e-mails Saturday. Police tape surrounded the club Saturday as investigators worked the scene.

Turner said the club often fills up on weekends. Because the front door is so close to the street, crowds usually spill out onto the sidewalk and adjacent parking lots, he said.

"We've had issues there before, but I hate to categorize it as a problem," he said.

A man was killed near the club in December, he said, but prosecutors determined the shooter was acting in self-defense.

Of those injured Saturday, six were seriously wounded and taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

Sixteen others went to Manatee Memorial Hospital. All but one were treated and released, authorities said. Turner said it was unclear how many of those injured actually suffered gunshot wounds.

"Hopefully, they'll all pull through," he said.

Matthews' family, reached at her home, declined comment on Saturday. Goff's family could not be reached.

Officers were at the scene late Saturday afternoon. They found quite a few rifle shell casings in and around the building, Tyler said.

A sport utility vehicle in the parking lot next to the club had bullet holes in it. "We're working very hard to put these people behind bars," Tyler said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Palmetto police at (941) 723-4587 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-634-8477. Tipsters may remain anonymous.

Kameel Stanley can be reached at or (727) 893-8643.

Police look for shooters in Palmetto nightclub slaying 09/10/11 [Last modified: Saturday, September 10, 2011 10:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Busy start has Florida Hospital Center Ice dreaming big


    WESLEY CHAPEL — Opening day brought 600 doctors, administrators and their families from Florida Hospital. Soon after that, the facility hosted its first junior league game and a collegiate showdown. A few weeks later, 200 kids, ages 4 to 9, participated in national Learn to Play Hockey Day.

    Alex Senushkin and his grandson, Styopa Kulshyn, 3, of Lakeland, skate at the Florida Hospital Center Ice rink in Wesley Chapel.
[CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]

  2. Charlie Crist calls for national day of civility


    WASHINGTON – A week after a gunman opened fire on a group of Republicans, Rep. Charlie Crist this morning called for the establishment of a national day of civility, saying “the need for action could not be more urgent.”

    A note from Rep. Charlie Crist
  3. NBA draft: Jonathan Isaac could make FSU history tonight


    Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac will probably hear his name called early in tonight's NBA draft.

  4. Qatar Airways seeks to buy a stake in American Airlines


    NEW YORK — State-owned Qatar Airways is attempting to buy a 10 percent stake in American Airlines, triggering U.S. antitrust oversight of deals that size.

    In this file photo, a new Qatar Airways Airbus A350 approaches the gate at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany. Qatar Airways is attempting to buy a 10 percent stake in American Airlines, triggering U.S. antitrust oversight over deals of such size. 
[AP file photo]
  5. In Iowa, the president channels his inner candidate Trump (w/video)


    CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Struggling to advance his agenda in Washington, President Donald Trump traveled to the Midwest for a raucous rally with his loyal supporters — the kind of event he relished before winning the White House.

    President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Wednesday, June 21, 2017. This is Trump's first visit to Iowa since the election. [Associated Press]