Lake City double shooting suspect surrenders; victims recovering

Columbia County Sheriff's Office photo of Robert Dell Church
Columbia County Sheriff's Office photo of Robert Dell Church

LAKE CITY, Fla. – The victims in a double shooting early Saturday morning outside the Elks Lodge in Lake City have been released from the hospital and are recovering. Late Wednesday night, the suspect in the shooting surrendered to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office

Security guard Niaja Bowles, 33, and bystander Alvia Lee, 37, were shot about 2:30 am. outside the club on Northeast Washington Street.

The suspect, 29-year-old Robert Church, turned himself in at the Columbia County Detention Facility Wednesday. Church was booked on aggravated battery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and discharging a firearm in public. Church is being held with no bond.  

Deputies said an argument between two unknown women and a man began in the club at closing time. Deputies said the on-sight security guard, Bowles, tried to separate the people involved and escorted them outside.

Authorities said once outside, Bowles fell to the ground during a struggle. Deputies said Church went to a vehicle in the parking lot, retrieved a handgun and returned. They said Church shot the guard once and fled the area.

The bullet that passed through the guard also stuck Lee.