Shooting incident results in attempted murder charge
A man has been charged with attempted murder after officials say he shot at a Cape Coral police officer and a resident before shooting himself Sept. 13.
Manuel Gonzalez Cotto, 34, of 1012 S.E. 13th Place, fired several shots at Cape resident Richard Erickson and responding Officer Sean McCreary, who was called to the 1200 block of S.E. 12th Street.
Cotto reportedly told police “You are going to have to kill me,” before shooting himself under the chin, police said.
Cotto, who remained hospitalized Friday afternoon, was charged Friday.
“This suspect took aim at one of our officers with the intent to shoot him,” said Police Chief Rob Petrovich in a prepared statement released Friday. “We are very fortunate that his shot did not hit Officer McCreary, who responded to the 911 call and was trying to protect the public. These incidents reinforce the dangers that our police officers face every day when they go to work.”
Erickson declined to discuss the incident.
“I don’t want to jeopardize the case,” he said. “We want justice here.”
According to reports, Erickson called police at about 2:44 p.m. to report that a man was waving a gun in the air and had fired shots.
Two shots were directed towards Erickson, narrowly missing, and one shot was fired towards McCreary, hitting his patrol car, officials said.
Neither man was injured during the incident.
As additional police units arrived on scene, Cotto reportedly moved from a bush on the west side of Southeast 12th Street and Southeast 13th Avenue and fired a single round at himself underneath his chin.
Paramedics were called to provide care for Cotto, who was then taken to Lee Memorial Hospital.
Cape Coral Capt. Dave Newlan said Cotto will be detained by police on two counts of attempted murder upon his release from the hospital.
A Cape Coral police officer has never been killed in the line of duty.
Shots fired at or by officers is rare.
“It is uncommon,” Newlan said. “It does not happen very often in Cape Coral, but unfortunately it did happen.”
Officer McCreary has been working as a patrol officer with the Cape Coral Police Department since 2007 and maintains his normal duties following the incident.