Palatka Police Department investigation uncovers new details in deadly shooting

Photo shows memorial in front of scene.

PALATKA, Fla. – The Palatka Police Department on Friday night said detectives continue their investigation into a shooting outside Vick’s Supper Club, renewing its push for anyone with information to come forward.

Previously, News4JAX reported that a family identified one person killed as Dontae Diaz Sr., a father of three. A mother identified the other victim who was fatally shot as Luther Ward Jr.

On Friday, the Police Department said it has conducted multiple interviews and collected a large amount of evidence.

“Although we have not arrived at a final conclusion, we want to provide an update to the community,” the department said in a statement on its Facebook page.

Police provided the following details, saying it is what detectives have determined following eyewitness testimony and a review of physical evidence.

Diaz, police said, was involved in an argument with two individuals at the club. After leaving the club, he returned a few minutes later to the parking lot, where he was approached by one of the individuals, and Diaz struck that man in the head with a blunt object, according to police.

Investigators said Diaz and Ward began to exchange gunfire, and that two patrons who were not involved were struck by stray bullets. In their original news briefing, police said those two people were in critical condition. They were released after being hospitalized and were said to be doing well.

“The identity of the patrons and the individual who was struck in the head are not being released at this time,” the department said in its statement Friday. “As a result of the gunfire, both Diaz and Ward lost their lives. Currently there is no evidence to suggest that there were any additional shooters.”

The Police Department said the investigation is ongoing. They asked anyone who can help to contact Detective Sgt. Colten Lee at 386-329-0115, ext. 518, or to submit an anonymous tip to First Coast Crime Stoppers by calling 1-888-277-TIPS.