A former Marine deftly and successfully disarmed a man who brought a grenade into a gay bar in Wilton Manors, Florida.
The incident happened at local watering hole The Corner Pub on Tuesday around 9 p.m. The man reportedly walked into the bar and displayed a grenade to the bartender.
“He said, ‘Don’t be scared.’ It kinda freaked me out a little bit,” bartender Joseph Shakespeare told ABC affiliate WPLG. “I was just thinking, ‘Stay calm,’ because we have a lot of people in there, and this is our community, so I want to keep everybody safe.”
Shakespeare said the man also claimed to have guns in his car.
But Darrell Darling, a former Marine, overheard the conversation and stepped in to help.
“He was agitated at somebody in the bar, looking to pick a fight,” Darling said. “He had shown me a grenade immediately as I walked up. It looked real.”
Darling says he knew the owner had called police, so he tried to keep the man preoccupied. He says he and the man bonded over their military and police service, allowing others to quietly escape the establishment.
“As people started to clear the bar, I used certain intentions to just keep his focus on me so we would be the last ones leaving the bar,” Darling said.
Darling then convinced the man to leave with him to go hang out. As they stepped outside, he tackled the man to the ground and prevented him from pulling the pin on the grenade.
“He could be a threat — I don’t know how’s he’s feeling, so I grabbed one hand, swept his full leg out and just put my full weight on the back of his body so he could not get up,” he said.
Police then stepped in to arrest the man.
The Wilton Manors Police Department did not release the man’s name, but described him in a news release as an “emotionally disturbed male” who was also “intoxicated” and “in need of mental health services.” They confirmed he had an inert grenade — meaning it could not have been detonated — in his possession, but did not have any firearms on his person.
The man reportedly told police that he was “distraught” by the “recent deaths of close friends.” Police say he has since been taken to a facility to receive the necessary mental health services he needs.
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