One of the U.S. Olympic swimmers who traveled with Ryan Lochte to Rio, Gunnar Bentz, has issued a statement providing more details on what happened on the night that Lochte was “robbed.”
Few weeks ago, U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte claimed he was robbed at gunpoint. Rio police later contradicted his tory, so no one is quite sure what exactly happened there. Lochte didn’t provide much detail in his half-hearted Twitter apology, still insisting that he had a “stranger point point a gun at [him] and demand money.”
In a new statement published on Georgia Athletics website, University of Georgia swimmer Gunnar Bentz details his version of the story on the night he went out with Ryan Lochte.
“Again, I cannot speak to his actions, but Ryan stood up and began to yell at the guards”
Bentz said that he, Lochte, and two other swimmers got out of a taxi to use the bathroom at a gas station. When they didn’t find one inside, the four of them got a bit creative. “There was no restroom inside, so we foolishly relieved ourselves on the backside of the building behind some bushes.”
Instead of hurrying out of there, Bentz said Ryan Lochte decided to do some damage.
“I am unsure why, but while we were in that area, Ryan pulled to the ground a framed metal advertisement that was loosely anchored to the brick wall.”
That’s when things escalated.
“Two men, whom I believe to have been security guards, then instructed us to exit the vehicle. No guns were drawn during this exchange, but we did see a gun tucked into one of the guard’s waistband. As Jimmy and Jack were walking away from the vehicle, the first security guard held up a badge to me and drew his handgun.
I yelled to them to come back toward us and they complied. Then the second guard drew his weapon and both guards pointed their guns at us and yelled at us to sit on a nearby sidewalk.”
According to Bentz, Lochte did not appreciate being told by the guards.
“Again, I cannot speak to his actions, but Ryan stood up and began to yell at the guards. After Jack and I both tugged at him in an attempt to get him to sit back down, Ryan and the security guards had a heated verbal exchange, but no physical contact was made.”
Luckily Bentz resolved the situation by paying for the damage, but not much
“Through the interpreter, one of the guards said that we needed to pay them in order to leave. I gave them what I had in my wallet, which was a $20 bill, and Jimmy gave them 100 Reals, which is about $50 in total.”
Bentz’s story stands in sharp contrast to what Ryan Lochte told the press few weeks ago. Lochte claimed that he was robbed at gunpoint by gunmen while they were inside the taxi.
In the statement, Gunnar Bentz seemed to distance himself from Lochte. “I feel compelled to stress several key points. 1. I was never a suspect in the case from the beginning (Brazilian law enforcement officials saw me only as a witness). 2. I never made a false statement to anyone at any time.”