Shooting occurred during NFL draft party

Pub where shooting took place may close because customers staying away

Ridgeport Pub bartender Helen Vedder had just announced last call and the lights had come on when she saw two men arguing near the bar.

She saw one of the men pull out a handgun and shoot the other and then fire into the crowd.

What was supposed to be an NFL draft party for a Naples High School graduate turned ugly when shooting broke out inside the North Naples bar and restaurant early Saturday evening. The party ended in the suspected shooter’s arrest and four partygoers being shot, including one man who remains hospitalized.

Nearly a week later, customers have not returned to the popular lunch hangout and nightspot, one of the few places in Collier to feature live bands. The shooting scared them off, say the bar’s owners.

The shooting was sparked by an argument between Kevin Eric Perry, 29, of Golden Gate and Cesar Riley, 32, of Immokalee, according to Collier County Sheriff’s Office reports.

Perry and Riley had an ongoing feud, said Kristin Adams, a sheriff’s spokeswoman.

“This was not a random shooting,” said Adams.

Perry, of 1873 52nd St. S.W., was arrested Saturday by deputies on four counts of aggravated battery with a firearm and one count of aggravated assault.

Riley was shot in the upper body. He was the most seriously wounded and was flown to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers, where he remained Thursday, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The pub was rented out for an invitation-only party for Cleannord Saintil, a 2002 Naples High graduate, to celebrate his entering this Saturday’s NFL draft, co-owner Deborah Leiter said. About 150 people were invited.

Pub security checked everyone coming into the party, said co-owner Bob Pontes. He believes someone let Perry enter the pub by a fire door.

Saintil, a member of the 2001 Naples High Class 5A state championship team, attended Middle Tennessee via Highlands Community College. He received first-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors.

Saintil could not be reached for comment.

Vedder said she saw Perry and Riley exchanging words near the bar when Perry pulled out a handgun and fired it, injuring Riley.

The first shot sent partygoers scattering, said Vedder.

Vedder said she saw Perry fire the rest of the rounds into the crowd. Three more people were shot.

Pontes said he was working the outdoor bar when several people came running out of the building. He ran inside, thinking a fight had broken out.

“It was supposed to be a party and it turned out to be a mess,” said Pontes.

Nicole Brice, 32, said she was at the party for about 20 minutes. She turned her back to walk away from the party when she was shot in the buttocks.

“It isn’t about ‘that place or those people,’ it could have been at a golf tournament,” said Brice, a part-time Naples resident. “I just I think it is unfortunate.”

Brice said she had a doctor appointment this week to find out if she will need surgery from her injury.

“I just pray to God that I don’t have problems in my life,” said Brice.

Brice was among three people who were injured and then treated at Naples Community Hospital. Claudyson Angervil, 26, was shot in the leg and Jonathan Corbitt, 22, was shot in the arm.

Angervil of Naples said he regrets going to the party.

The doctor told Angervil the bullet didn’t do any severe damage and all he has to do is wait for his injury to heal.

Neither Brice nor Angervil said they saw Perry fire a gun. Both were invited to the party by friends.

Leiter said she hasn’t had any business since the shooting.

“Things like that do not go on all the time,” said Leiter through tears.

The pub has been rented out to private parties in the past, including such groups a Make a Wish Foundation and American Red Cross.

“It just blew up in our face because we wanted to provide a place for the community to hold a party,” said Pontes.

He said reservations for planned private parties have been canceled since Friday.

Leiter, a lifelong Naples resident, said she mortgaged her house and her mother’s house to buy the business.

She fears she will end up in bankruptcy and lose her home if the business doesn’t pick up.

“I’m going to be shut by the end of this month” she said.

© 2006 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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