Rubens Casseus was taking a break from work early Sunday and stepped outdoors his tax service enterprise in Naples to speak to his spouse on the telephone when he observed two individuals strolling by.
Casseus, standing outdoors his workplace within the 500 block of eleventh Road North, watched as the 2 walked towards Goodlette-Frank Street. He did not assume a lot about it at first.
It appeared they have been going to go separate methods, Casseus stated. Phrases may need been exchanged, although he could not make sure. Instantly, photographs rang by way of the night time.
Someone “just turned around and started shooting,” Casseus, 40, recalled in a phone interview Tuesday, referring to an unknown shooter who killed Franklin Francois, 25, just before 2 a.m. Sunday near Sixth Avenue North and 11th Street North.
Fearing for his safety and not knowing where the shooter was headed next, Casseus fled inside his office and took cover.
“You just don’t know what to think in that moment,” he said. “So my best thinking is: Get my head low … and go straight back to my office.”
He called 911, and the dispatcher asked him what he could see. Casseus carefully peered out the window and saw a white shirt on the ground. The dispatcher asked Casseus whether he could tell who the person was or whether he could make it out there.
“I said, ‘I’m not sure, but I really can’t go out there, because I don’t know where the shooter is,’ ” Casseus recalled.
When a police officer arrived at the scene shortly after the call, Casseus went outside and asked whether everything was OK.
“He said, ‘Bring me towels, bring me towels,’ ” Casseus recalled.
Casseus grabbed a couple of towels from his office and raced back outside. The officer told him to help stop the bleeding as Casseus pressed the towels against Francois’ stomach.
“He told me, ‘Push down, push down,’ ” Casseus said. “I pushed down. He told me, ‘Keep it tight.’ “
An officer attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, Casseus said. It was then that he could feel Francois’ heartbeat.
“His heart beat like three times: Boom. Boom. Boom,” Casseus said. “It starts giving you hope that whoever that is hopefully will survive.”
Then another round of cardiopulmonary and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Francois, of Fort Myers, was taken to NCH Baker Hospital Downtown, where he was pronounced dead, Naples police said.
Since those frantic moments in Sunday’s early hours, one question has stuck with Casseus: What if he had gone out to Francois sooner? Could he have survived?
“I wish I came out there sooner,” he said. “If I came out there sooner, maybe it might mean another second to live, maybe that would give him that time to make it to the hospital. … Nobody’s supposed to die like this.”
Casseus said the phone call from his wife who pulled him outside his office that night was an opportunity to make a difference.
“That was a signal for…