A former marine is being hailed as a hero for his timely intervention that averted a tragedy after an agitated man brought a grenade into a popular gay bar in Florida. The tense moments were captured on the bar’s closed circuit camera TV videos.
The incident occurred on Tuesday, August 16, 2022, around 9.26 pm, when a man walked into Corners Pub in Wilton Manors, Florida, and placed a grenade on the bar counter.
Bartender Joseph Shakespeare told local news station WPLG that the the man said he had guns in his car.
“He showed me a grenade. He said, ‘Don’t be scared.’ It kinda freaked me out a little bit. 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.
Ex Marine To the Rescue
Darryl Darling, a former marine and a regular at the gay bar, overheard the conversation and stepped in to help. He started talking to the man as the owner phoned the police and the bartender tried to get the other patrons out of the bar to safety.
“He was agitated at somebody in the bar, looking to pick a fight. He had shown me a grenade immediately as I walked up. It looked real,” Darryl told WPLG.
Darling engaged him in conversation about their days serving in the US military. “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.”
Once he convinced the man to step out out of the bar, Darryl tackled him to the ground and waited for the police to arrive.
“The emotionally disturbed male exited the business with a customer who escorted him to the ground before being taken into custody by law enforcement,” Wilton Manors Police Departrment said in a statement.
“A search of the male revealed an inert grenade. No firearm was located on the subject,” the police said.
Friends Set Up Fundraiser For Gay Hero
WMPD said that they determined that the man was intoxicated and needed mental health services. “The male told police officers that he was distraught by the recent deaths of close friends. The male was subsequently transported to a facility where he could be provided with the needed services,” the police said, adding, “After canvassing the area law enforcement deemed the business safe for patrons to reenter.”
Following the incident, friends set up a fundraiser for Darryl, who himself has had a “rough year”.
“Although he will not make this very evident, he had a motorcycle accident earlier this year, damaging his beloved bike. He is currently between jobs and cannot fully repair his motorcycle, and he deserves to have some good come his way,” the fundraising page set up by his friends on GoFundme stated.
“Let’s show Darryl how good people treat those who selflessly act for the good of others. Especially those who served our country. I only wish we could have more people like Darryl around these very trying times; if you can donate anything, you will make a hero feel loved and cared for,” they added.