FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – It’s been almost six months since a deadly shootout outside a Fort Lauderdale bar sent an off-duty detective to the hospital.READ MORE: 1 Killed After Being Struck By Tri-Rail Train South Of Commercial Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale Police Detective Mark Shotwell spoke publicly about his near-death experience with CBS 4’s Lauren Pastrana Monday.
“The word hero has been thrown around quite a bit, and that’s really not the case,” Det. Shotwell said.
He may not consider himself a hero, but he is a survivor
“I was in the fight for my life,” Shotwell told Pastrana. “I just was determined to come out on top.”
It was July 3rd.
Detective Shotwell was off-duty, enjoying a beer after work.
He was walking out of Maguires Hill 16 Irish Pub on Andrews Ave. in Fort Lauderdale when he spotted Christine Menatti and her boyfriend Richard Arruda arguing.
Words were exchanged.
Investigators say Arruda pulled a gun and shot the off-duty detective, before Shotwell returned fire, killing Aruda.
“I knew when I stopped firing that he was down, and that was one of the reasons that I continued. He wouldn’t comply. After the threat ceased, I stopped firing,” Shotwell said. “I was shot in the left chest. I knew it was serious. I knew it was wet. When ultimately I went down in the parking lot, I wasn’t sure that I was going to get up.”READ MORE: Police Ask Public's Help In Identifying Suspected Hit-Run-Driver In NE Miami-Dade
Shotwell was rushed to the hospital, where he credits the doctors and nurses with acting quickly to save his life.
“Incredible trauma doctors. Incredible follow-up care. The nurses at Broward North, the fire department, Fort Lauderdale Fire Department. I was blessed all the way around,” he said.
It’s be a turbulent few months for law enforcement officers.
Across the country, they’ve gone from being vilified to victimized.
On Saturday, two NYPD officers were executed while in their squad car.
While Detective Shotwell is anxious to return to full duty, he knows he can’t deny the risks that come with the job.
“I think what scares me more than anything is that if it’s gotten as bad as it’s going to,” Shotwell said. “I don’t think we’re at the bottom of the well yet. I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”
A grand jury cleared Det. Shotwell of any wrongdoing in the shooting.
He had two surgeries and may need one more to resolve a lingering medical issue.
He returned to light duty in October and hopes to get back to work in a full capacity very soon.
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