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Tragedy strikes Immokalee again

Feb. 25, 2013
Immokalee High death
Immokalee High death: Immokalee High Junior Joujou St. Val speaks about classmate Kanasha Isaac. Video by Chris Umpierre
Kanasha Isaac, 16

Immokalee High deaths

Eight Immokalee High School students have died in tragic ways over the last 21 months:

• May 2011: Immokalee High students Michael Perez and his girlfriend Amanda Alvarado, both 17, died in a two-vehicle crash on Westclox Street in Immokalee.
• November 2011: Brothers Saturnino Trejo, 14, and Enoch Trejo, 17, drowned while fishing near the Dupont Bridge in Everglades City.
• December 2012: Immokalee High students Coby Deleon, 18, and Natalia Trejo, 17, died in a murder-suicide.
• January 2013: An Immokalee High student died of an apparent heart attack while participating in a Special Olympics golf tournament.
• February 2013: Immokalee High School sophomore Kanasha Isaac, 16, was fatally shot in the parking lot of the Fort Myers Ale House.


Principal Mary Murray placed her hands on her desk, took a deep breath and tried to describe the death of another Immokalee High student.

Eight Immokalee students have died in tragic ways over the past 21 months. Shootings, car crashes, drownings and heart attacks have taken the students, all younger than 18. On Saturday, Sophomore Kanasha Isaac, 16, was fatally shot in the face in the parking lot of the Fort Myers Ale House.

“This brings back a lot of emotions from the earlier incidents,” Murray said. “It reopens those wounds to lose another friend like this.”

On Monday morning, the Collier County School District shipped its five-member counseling crisis team to Immokalee, a school with a population of just over 1,400. The district counselors will likely stay the rest of the week to assist the school’s full-time counselors in helping students grapple with Isaac’s death. Teachers and other school staff have been instructed to look for students needing help.

“Some kids couldn’t focus in class today,” said Immokalee freshman Bianca Juarez, who was friends with Kanasha. “They’d step out of class, crying and frustrated. All these deaths are hard. We all know they are in a better place and that we have to live with this. But it’s not easy.”

Immokalee junior Joujou St. Val said she’s been having trouble eating and sleeping since hearing of her friend’s death. St. Val said she spoke to Isaac on Friday. St. Val said Isaac went with her boyfriend to the Fort Myers Ale House to eat.

. “Kanasha was a very pretty and fun person to talk to. She would brighten up anybody’s day,” St. Val said.

Fort Myers police Sunday arrested Henry Brunson, 24, of Fort Myers, for the shooting. Police haven’t released a motive. According to police, a witness and Isaac got into a car after eating at the Ale House restaurant, near Colonial Boulevard and Metro Parkway.

A car pulled up, blocking them. Witnesses say Brunson, armed with a handgun, shot at the blocked car from the passenger-side window. Isaac was shot in the face.

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Murray said it will take some time for her school to get over the death.

“Kanasha was a social butterfly,” Murray said. “Very well liked. A highly involved girl in her church and her community. Full of energy. Full of life. She was a young lady that would light up a room. People are saying today that it’s hard to find a picture of her not smiling. We’re going to miss her smile.”

Reached on the phone Monday afternoon by The News-Press, Isaac’s mother declined to be interviewed. Murray said Isaac had a large family located in Lehigh Acres, Clewiston, Naples and Fort Myers. St. Val said Isaac had two younger brothers and a younger sister.

About 200 people visited Isaac at Lee Memorial Hospital on Sunday, Murray said. Immokalee’s dean of students stayed with the family until 10:30 p.m. Physicians pronounced Isaac clinically dead on Sunday, but she remained on a life support system so her organs could be donated.

Isaac’s death comes two months after Immokalee High students Coby Deleon, 18, and Natalia Trejo, 17, died in a murder-suicide in December.

“Never seen anything like it. It’s been pretty crazy,” Murray said. “But these kids are resilient. They hold each other together. This community always pulls itself together.”

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