FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The Broward Sheriff’s Office identified a man killed during a shoot out with an off-duty officer at a Fort Lauderdale pub Thursday.
BSO says Richard Arruda was shot and killed by off-duty police Officer Mark Shotwell, who was left critically injured.
The shootout happened at Maguires Hill 16 Irish Pub and Eatery at 535 Andrews Avenue.
Investigators said Richard Arruda and his girlfriend, Christine Menatti, were in the parking lot after getting into a physical confrontation inside the vehicle.
BSO said Officer Shotwell had just left the restaurant to go home at around 7:30 when he came upon the altercation between Arruda and Menatti.
Deputies said Menatti, who works at Maguires and recognized Officer Shotwell, asked him for help and alleged Arruda had battered her.
Investigators said Arruda got out of the vehicle and shot Officer Shotwell, who reached for his weapon returned fire and fatally shot Arruda.
“I heard it. There were seven shots. Four from one gun and three from another,” patron Fred Gans tells CBS4 News. Gans was one of dozens of patrons who were in Maguires Thursday night.
“It was very scary. You could hear gunfire. At first we thought it was fireworks.”
More than 20 witnesses were interviewed Thursday by investigators.
“The officer was face up and shaking, getting pale. The other man was face down on the ground with blood covered,” said Frank Fahey who was also in the bar when the shooting started.
A former Broward prosecutor who identified himself as “Zygy” said he knew Detective Mark Shotwell a long time.
He was in Maguires when the gunfire erupted. “I went out and ran to Mark. He was laying on the ground and the other fellow was 8 feet away. I called 9-1-1.”
Officer Shotwell, BSO says, is a decorated officer with close to 30 years of enforcement service.
He remains in critical condition but is stable, according to BSO. It is unclear how many times he was shot.
Arruda’s Facebook page shows he served in the Navy and lived in Massachusetts before moving to Ft Lauderdale. There are also several pictures on the Facebook page of Arruda holding guns.
Friends of Officer Shotwell said they aren’t surprised he intervened in the alleged fight between Arruda and his girlfriend.
“A great man, happens to be great detective, and somebody that would not hesitate to put himself in harms way to save somebody else,” said prosecutor Gregg Rossman. “If someone was in trouble he wouldn’t sit back and let the trouble play out, he would try to resolve the situation calmly and quietly but it doesn’t always go that way.”
Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler said his “stomach sank” when he heard the news.
“These guys we kind of take for granted what they do day in and day out. I think we have the finest officers in the country here in Fort Lauderdale and even when they are not actively working a case, they are really never off duty,” Seiler said.
Mayor Seiler, who would not mention the officer’s name Friday morning, said he knew the officer very well.
“He is an outstanding officer and has had a tremendous career with the City of Ft. Lauderdale,” said Mayor Seiler. The Mayor also said he believe the investigation would show Shotwell “did the right thing.”
Shotwell, who was recently married, according to the Ft. Lauderdale PD website was officer of the year in 2012.
Mayor Seiler said while the officer did have to undergo surgery, the prognosis is good.
“Encouraged. I am and extremely proud of the work done by fire rescue. The response time was excellent,” said Mayor Seiler adding, “Our thoughts and prayers are with our whole Ft. Lauderdale Police Department. They do a heck of a job day in and day out. As you see here they put their lives on the line for the City of Ft. Lauderdale and our neighbors and we are just praying for the family and the officer, but I think we are pretty encouraged.”
Detective Shotwell has worked to solve several high profile cases including the murder of Miami Subs founder Gus Boulis and of Foutainblue Hotel heir Ben Novak Jr. and his mother Bernice. He also worked on the case of the disappearance of Colleen Wood and helped convict Teah Wimberly for murder back in 2009.
It is unclear if Officer Shotwell had been drinking or not before the shooting.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office is now the lead on the investigation.
It’s common for BSO to take over an investigation for another department when an officer for that department has been involved in a shooting.
WATCH Gaby Fleischman’s report from Friday night: BSO Identifies Man Killed In Shooting
WATCH Joan Murray’s report from Friday afternoon: Witnesses Describe Scene When Officer Was Shot At Pub