‘Hurts my heart’: Neighbors react to video of Hollywood man dragged in elevator after cops shot him

Warning: Video is graphic

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Neighbors are reacting to graphic video obtained by Local 10 News Friday showing Hollywood police dragging a 69-year-old condominium owner into an elevator after shooting him.

David Cottes later died from his wounds and exactly what happened remains a mystery to family members.

On Feb. 26, 2022, Cottes asked neighbors to call Hollywood police, because he thought someone was breaking into his condominium at around 8 a.m.

“He said someone was in his apartment, in his condo. He comes out with his gun -- licensed to carry and everything,” Christina Cottes, David’s daughter, said Friday.

Cottes was a longtime resident of 3505 South Ocean Drive.

Exactly what transpired before isn’t clear, but his family says he was by the elevator and police came up the stairwell.

Cottes’ family says it took more than 30 minutes to get him help and they want to know why.

“He’s asking for police to help,” Christina Cottes said. “When police come to help, my dad is dead.”

They said they weren’t allowed to visit David in the hospital before he died weeks later, so he took what happened to the grave.

Many in the condominium building knew Cottes, who served on the board.

That includes Lucy and Richard Lipari, who spoke to Local 10 News on Monday after viewing the graphic video.

“That video, it hurts my heart,” Lucy Lipari said. “Just seeing him like that in the end of his life almost.”

Richard Lipari criticized the actions of Hollywood police.

“It’s the inhumanity of the police overall,” he said. “It’s their cowboy side.”

Hollywood’s police and mayor initially declined to comment on the video, citing an active investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, however Hollywood police released a news release Monday with their side of the story and calling recent media accounts “inaccurate.”

According to police, officers responded to the high-rise that day in reference to an armed person in the building.

Police said officers arrived and were met by a witness who said there was a man with a gun acting erratically. Officers then encountered Cottes, who they claim pointed a gun in their direction as they opened a stairwell door to the 14th floor.

Police said officers then fired their guns, striking Cottes.

“After the shooting occurred, the armed individual, Mr. Cottes, received aid within minutes as HPD officers placed a chest seal (occlusive dressing) on him before entering the elevator,” the news release stated. “During this time frame, Mr. Cottes stated that there were other armed men in the building.

“For his safety, officer safety, and the safety of Fire-Rescue personnel, officers entered the elevator to bring Mr. Cottes to rescue crews, while additional officers remained on the 14th floor to respond to other potential threats mentioned by Mr. Cottes. Surveillance from the elevator shows officers’ actions were focused on getting Mr. Cottes downstairs to rescue personnel as quickly as possible to provide him with additional medical care. Fire rescue personnel took over first aid within 7 minutes and continued care all the way to the hospital.”

Police said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will send the findings of their investigation to the Broward County State Attorney’s Office for review to determine whether the use of force was justified.

“In addition to FDLE’s investigation, the State Attorney’s Office will also consider additional information, such as toxicology results and evidence/information discovered during a search warrant which was executed on Mr. Cottes’ residence,” the news release stated. “This is an open and active investigation, therefore limited information can be made available to the public at this time. We believe it’s imperative to let the investigative process play out before conclusions are made. FDLE agents have met with Mr. Cottes’ family and will continue to provide as many answers as they can throughout the investigative process.”

About the Author:

Reporter Rosh Lowe has been covering news for nearly two decades in South Florida. He joined Local 10 in 2021.