One of the security guards who confronted Ryan Lochte and his teammates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen on Sunday, August 14, is telling Us Weekly his side of the story.
The 34-year-old guard, who chose to remain anonymous and spoke with an Us Weekly associate in Portuguese, claims that there was no violent altercation with the swimmers, but that the 12-time Olympic medalist and his teammates came to the gas station and appeared to have been drinking.
“These guys came here causing trouble … but we did not touch them at all,” the guard states. “There was never any physical contact. I only showed my gun … I did not order them to lay down on the floor and the gun was certainly not pointed in anyone’s face.”
“Everything that took place that evening was within the rights of the law,” he concluded, adding that he cannot comment further amid the police investigation.
As previously reported by Us Weekly, Lochte claimed that he and his teammates were robbed and held at gunpoint on Sunday. “We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing, just a police badge, and they pulled us over,” the 32-year-old athlete told the Today show’s Billy Bush. “They pulled out their guns … I was like, ‘We didn’t do anything wrong.’”
On Thursday, August 18, however, Civil Police Chief Fernando Veloso said during a press conference that there “was no robbery” and that Brazilian officials believe that Lochte and his teammates lied about being robbed to cover up a fight they were allegedly involved in after vandalizing the gas station bathroom.
According to reports, the swimmers allegedly broke the gas station bathroom door, along with a poster, and peed outside the premise.
As reported by the Associated Press — and as shown in security camera footage obtained by Us Weekly — an armed security guard approached the men about the alleged vandalization and a manager asked the swimmers to pay for the damage. The AP reports that the swimmers did indeed pay. Police reports obtained by Brazil EXTRA also confirm that the men handed over money.
Lochte and Feigen have since maintained that their robbery story is true.
“I wouldn’t make up a story like this, nor would the others,” he told Matt Lauer on Wednesday, August 17. “We’re victims in this and we’re happy that we’re safe.’”
Authorities, however, have claimed that their teammates Bentz and Conger admitted their account was fabricated. According to the AP, police officials are recommending that the two swimmers be indicted on charges of falsely reporting a crime.
In a statement released by the USOC Thursday evening, CEO Scott Blackmun confirmed that Lochte, Bentz, Conger and Feigen were indeed involved in vandalizing a gas station bathroom in Rio on Sunday, August 14. In the statement, the USOC apologized to the people of Brazil for the swimmers’ “unacceptable” behavior and noted that they’ll be reviewing the matter further, as well as considering “any potential consequences for the athletes.”
Lochte’s lawyer, Jeffrey Owens, insisted in a statement to ABC News on thursday that the four swimmers were robbed. “No matter what happened at the gas station, the swimmers were robbed by people with a gun appearing to be law enforcement,” the statement read. “No matter what country you are in that is robbery and robbery is a serious crime.”
Us Weekly has reached out to Lochte and Feigen for comment.
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