PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – A mother of one of the victims killed in a deadly shooting in Palatka Saturday is speaking out about her loved one.
Luther Ward Jr.,26, was killed in a shooting outside of Vick’s Supper Club on US 17 and North 18th Street that left another dead, two people in critical condition and a fifth person severely hurt after they were “beaten with a blunt object,” according to the Palatka Police Department.
Police are investigating the incident, which they said started after an argument that escalated into gunfire. They also stated that there was no threat to the community following the shooting.
News4JAX spoke with the victim’s mother who told us Ward “had a good heart.”
“He wasn’t a troubled child. He didn’t give me any problems,” Bea-Trece DeLeon said. His mother also said she was expecting to see her son Sunday, but he was taken away by senseless violence.
Many people online sent condolences to the families involved and others returned to the lot with flowers and balloons to share their condolences.
Ward’s mother told us he was a loving father and a hard-working young man.
“He was a truck driver, and he loved his daughter. He love his family, and he did whatever he could to help people. He had a good heart,” DeLeon said.
Jon Tuten lives nearby the area where the shootout occurred.
“I heard some loud rap music. I mean some really loud rap music, then all of sudden it got quiet. Then I heard a bang, bang, bang. Then I said ‘that’s not good,’” Tuten said.
DeLeon said she received a call around 11 p.m. Saturday saying her son was life-flighted to a hospital after a shooting near a club. She said Ward died around 4 a.m. Sunday.
“It doesn’t solve anything. It’s not going to bring my son’s life back, but I just don’t understand why young people feel the need to have guns and react with violence,” DeLeon said.
DeLeon is asking the community to pray for not only her family but for everyone involved in this tragedy as well.
Police said they have information on a suspect but have not released that information.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, and the state attorney’s homicide investigative team are assisting in the investigation.