Shooting That Killed 2 at Florida Restaurant ‘Not Random,’ Says Sheriff

October 10, 2018 Updated: October 10, 2018

Two people were killed and two injured in a shooting at a shopping plaza and restaurant in Florida late on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

The shooting was swiftly dubbed a “mass shooting,” as eyewitness reports of multiple gunshots began to surface. But local law enforcement later emphasized that the shooting at Bell Towers did not appear to be an act of random violence.

One eyewitness claimed to have heard at least 20-30 shots.

According to one local media report, the shooter had targeted a family as they ate in a restaurant, shooting dead the husband in front of his wife, and then killing their son as he fled.

Lee County Sheriff released few details of the incident in a press conference just before midnight, confirming that a shooting had occurred at around 9:30 p.m. at the Bell Towers Shops in Fort Myers in southwest Florida.

“It appears to not be an act of random violence,” Sheriff Carmine Marceno told reporters. “Two people succumbed to their injuries, and two have been taken to a local area hospital. Their injuries are unknown.”

Police completely shut the shopping plaza as they started a massive investigation.

‘We are hiding in the bathroom’

The identities of the victims have not been released at the time of writing.

According to NBC2, an unnamed woman told them that her husband and son had been killed.

She was paying for dinner at the Society restaurant when someone approached her family, shooting her husband. She said that her son tried to run off, but was also shot.

One eyewitness wrote on Twitter, “Multiple shots fired in the parking lot of Bell Tower in Ft Myers. We hear screaming and sirens. We are hiding in the bathroom.”

She later added, “This is terrible. So many police and rescue. At least 20-30 shots fired. Ft Myers – Bell Tower. I can’t even tell how many people are down in the parking lot.”

“I thought I couldn’t get any more scared than the night I performed CPR on my husband by myself but I was wrong. I now know that there are many more levels to fear,” she tweeted.

Other media reports say witnesses heard several shots from nearby bars and restaurants.

“It was really scary. There were a couple of dead bodies. They had covered them up already and there were like 10 police cars and EMTs,” witness Denise Mazzitti told NBC.

A yellow tarp covered a body in the grass just outside the shops, according to Fort-Myers News Press.

The shopping plaza is on a 4.6-acre site, described as a Mediterranean open-air lifestyle center, currently undergoing renovations.

The incident sparked some debate on social media about whether it was appropriate to define it as a “mass shooting.”

Follow Simon on Twitter: @SPVeazey
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