FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Andrew Cooks is speaking for the first time while recuperating from a gunshot wound to the stomach.
It happened two weeks ago at the Blue Martini at the Galleria.
He was there with family celebrating the life of a relative who died recently, when suddenly he said he saw his brother-in-law Arnold Person in some type of confrontation with retired DEA agent Andre Clark.
He said he couldn’t hear what it was about.
“That’s when Arnold grabbed this guy’s arms and they were up against the bar,” Cooks explained.
“And mind you, there’s a lot of people at the bar, they lost balance, fell to the right and that’s when the first shot went off and I actually saw the muzzle fire from the gun and that’s when I realized I was hit,” he said.
Arnold was shot and killed, pronounced dead on the scene.
Fort Lauderdale police have not charged anyone at this point saying, “Our detectives are looking into what occurred prior to the shooting. We are also in contact with the DEA regarding Mr. Clark’s employment status and firearms records.”
“Why was he in an establishment like that with a firearm?” asked Cooks.
The family is questioning why Clark would even have a gun while in a bar.
“He should not have had his firearm in Blue Martini,” said family attorney Marwan Porter, “and if he did not have it in there that evening we would not be here right now,” he said.
Clark’s attorney Jeffrey Neiman said, “Andre was legally justified in the shooting. As a retired federal law enforcement officer, he was permitted to have a handgun with him at the time.”
He went on to say, “He was not the aggressor and he acted in self-defense. That said, this is a horrific tragedy for all involved…”
The attorney for the family said this is not a case of self-defense. “The “go to” defense in Florida is, “I’m standing my ground, self-defense.” And it gives people individuals who are doing the wrong thing a little bit of wiggle room to avoid being held accountable for killing people,” Porter said.
Fort Lauderdale police say Clark is cooperating with the investigation.
The case will eventually be turned over to the state attorney’s office to determine if charges will be filed.