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Guard charged in Club Lexx shooting

caines | 6/14/2012, 6 a.m.

Family hires Trayvon Martin attorney

Miami-Dade police arrested security guard Lukace Shane Kendle, 26, last week and has now been charged with fatally shooting one man and wounding the other inside the parking lot of Club Lexx on June 1st. The victims, Kijuan Byrd, 29, and his friend Michael Lee Smathers, 30, were sitting in a Ford F-150 around 10:45 p.m. when Kendle allegedly shot the two men several times killing Byrd and sending Smathers to Jackson Hospital Ryder Trauma Center in critical condition. Kendle, an employee of Force One Security a company contracted to provide parking lot security at Club Lexx was scheduled to work the night of the murder. He arrived at the club early for his 11 p.m. shift. He told police that he first saw Byrd and Smathers rolling what appeared to be marijuana cigarettes. After attending a meeting with his co-workers, Kendle went back to his car to get cigarettes and said he noticed the two victims looking at him menacingly before swinging open their car doors yelling, Im going to kill that n*gga! Kendle says fearing for his life he repeatedly shot into the vehicle. When Byrd fell out of the vehicle and began crawling on the ground, Kendle admits he shot twice more, in the back. Both victims were unarmed. Miami-Dade County medical examiners ruled Byrds death as a homicide last Friday and determined the cause of death was a result of a total of eleven gunshot wounds.

Victims parents speak out

Kendle would remain free for one week before being arrested and charged sparking an outcry from Byrds parents Arlene and Donald Byrd and other family members. They, along with legal counsel Attorney Benjamin Crump, spoke at a press conference inside Range Funeral Home. Before the Byrd Family caught wind of kendles arrest they were fearful he would cite the Stand Your Ground law which could have prevented him from ever being charged in the murder case. My family wants answers, said Byrds mother, Arlene. We dont understand how someone can cite the Stand Your Ground law when [Kijuan] was shot two times in the back. Kijuan was my only child and now hes gone. My baby is dead and its senseless. I dont know what Im going to say to my grandbabies when they ask me where their father is. Crump, who also counsels the family of Trayvon Martin, spoke about the Stand Your Ground law at the conference. A lot of people compare this case to the Trayvon Martin case, but the difference is we know that Smathers is alive and we may have a version from somebody who was actually there, he said. Byrd, a Miami Norland Senior High 2001 graduate, attended Wells Hills College in California. He worked as an electrician to support his children: a three-year-old daughter and one-year-old son. Byrds grandfather, Conley Johnson, fought to hold back tears at the conference. They need to amend this [Stand Your Ground] law because now anybody can kill someone and get away with it, he said. People are taking advantage of that law. By Latoya Burgesslburgess@miamitimesonline.com