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Lehigh shooting victim showed promise beyond high school

By Staff | Jul 25, 2016

Sunday night, Lehigh Senior High School senior Stef’an Strawder announced his plans to go out on Facebook, a place where he often let his feelings known.

“I’m Thinking About Going To This Party Who All Going?”

The decision to attend a teen party at a club in Fort Myers cost him his life.

Strawder, 18, a promising basketball star with dreams of playing in college, was one of two teens shot to death early Monday morning at Club Blu as the swimsuit-themed party was letting out.

Sean Archilles, 14, has been identified as the other casualty. Sean would have entered the eighth grade at Royal Palm Exceptional Center in Dunbar next month.

At least 18 others were wounded. Four remained hospitalized late Monday, two in critical condition.

Posts on Strawder’s Facebook page told of the grief his friends were feeling.

“Why you had to go Cuhh why,” was one of the posts.

Another said, “I’m glad you had fun cuh???? fly high,”

Just two weeks ago, he and his Florida Legends AAU squad won a regional tournament in Charlotte, N.C. to qualify for a national tournament held in Las Vegas this past week.

Strawder posted items on Facebook throughout his trip and often made posts talking about his desire to work hard so that his family wouldn’t have to.

Strawder was the starting point guard for Lehigh Senior High School basketball team, which has made it to the regional finals the past two seasons.

Last season, Strawder led the team in scoring with 15.6 points per game and assists with 5.5 per game in leading the team to a 19-8 record.

Unfortunately, the season ended under a cloud after Strawder and eight other teammates were suspended after a profanity-laced rap video of the players was posted to You Tube.

The incident derailed the team’s quest for a state championship and eventually prompted the resignation of head coach Dawn McNew.

After a promising freshman season, Strawder became a force to be reckoned with as a sophomore as the Lightning stormed to a 29-2 record, scoring 13.6 points and dishing out 5.8 assists per game.

Neither Lehigh Senior High principal Jackie Corey nor former McNew could be reached for comment by press time.