Putnam County

Shooting at Palatka supper club leaves 2 dead, 2 in critical condition, 5th person beaten

PALATKA, Fla. — Two people are dead and two more are hurt after police say an argument during a gathering in Palatka turned into a shooting. Investigators say a fifth person was beaten, then several cars took off from the scene.

Putnam County Fire Rescue took on help from surrounding counties because of the number of victims.

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Palatka police say a large gathering in the parking lot of Vicks Supper Club and Bar-B-Q turned into an argument. That’s when deadly gunfire broke out just before midnight Saturday.

Police say two officers were sitting across from the scene watching a crowd when they heard pops they first thought were fireworks. When officers realized it was gunfire, they called in backup, including four medical helicopters, multiple trauma alerts and additional medical and law enforcement help from surrounding counties.

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Action News Jax’s Princess Jhané Stepherson spoke to a local born and raised in Palatka. He’s also a former Palatka police officer and says that over the years the amount of young people in the area with access to guns has risen.

“Why do you think that’s a problem? Why? Because they don’t have any regard for human life around here anymore,” said a Palatka resident.

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Palatka PD said multiple cars took off from the scene. In the cars they stopped they found four people shot and a fifth beaten with a blunt object. Two of those people have died and the other two are in critical condition.

“It’s a shame, I feel bad for the families that it happened to. I hate to see it happen to anybody anywhere, I think it’s senseless violence anywhere,” said a visitor.

Police say they’re questioning suspects. We spoke to one of the victim’s cousins at a local Mobil gas station who said some areas have been taken over by gangs. The victim was too afraid to talk out of fear of retaliation.

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“It’s not the same as when I was growing up, we had a lot of things to do. Now there’s nothing to do so they’re into the drug pattern, into the killing pattern,” said a Palatka resident.

“I don’t let situations like this ruin a place like this because there’s good people here, it’s just something bad happened,” said a visitor.

Police say this is still a very active investigation that probably won’t wrap up until sometime Tuesday. At this time, the Palatka Police Department, Putnam County Police Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Crime Scene Unit, Florida’s attorney general’s office and the 7th Judicial Circuit of Florida are investigating.