A terrifying situation unfolded at a well-known gay bar in Wilton Manors on Tuesday afternoon. A bartender at The Corner Pub says a man walked into the venue and told him he was carrying a grenade.
He placed the grenade on the counter.
Bartender Joseph Shakespeare told Local10, “He showed me a grenade. He said, ‘Don’t be scared.’ It kinda freaked me out a little bit.”
Other witnesses have confirmed the man pulled out what appeared to be a grenade.
Shakespeare says the safety of his customers was paramount in his mind. He attempted to joke with the man to diffuse his apparent anger.
“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.”
A former Marine drinking in the bar overheard what was going on and decided to intervene.
“He was agitated at somebody in the bar, looking to pick a fight,” Darrell Darling said. “He had shown me a grenade immediately as I walked up. It looked real.”
Persuading man to leave the bar
Darling kept the man occupied while other patrons quietly exited the bar. Darling was aware the bartender had called the bar owner, who called the police. He then persuaded the man to leave the bar with him so they could hang out and continue their conversation. He said they bonded by talking about military and police service.
Once they stepped out of the bar, Darling wrestled the man to the ground.
“He could be a threat — I don’t know how 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,” Darling said.
Police then descended and took the man into custody. They have not released his name. Authorities confirm he was carrying an inert grenade and is now receiving mental health support.
You can watch CCTV footage in the news report below.
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