Ex-Marine disarms man who smuggled grenade into gay bar

Hand Grenade – Photo: Andreadonetti, via Dreamstime.com

A former Marine skillfully and successfully disarmed a man who smuggled a grenade into a gay bar in Wilton Manors, Florida.

The incident happened at the local watering hole The Corner Pub around 9pm on Tuesday. The man reportedly entered the bar and showed the bartender a grenade.

“He said, ‘Don’t be afraid.’ It freaked me out a bit,” bartender Joseph Shakespeare told ABC affiliate WPLG. “I was just thinking, ‘Keep calm,’ because we have a lot of people in there, and it’s our community, so I want to keep everyone 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 by someone in the bar, looking for a fight,” Darling said. “He had shown me a grenade immediately as I approached. It looked real.

Darling says he knew the owner had called the police, so he tried to keep the man concerned. He says he and the man bonded through their military and police service, allowing others to quietly escape from the establishment.

“As people started clearing the bar, I used certain intentions to keep his attention on me so that we were the last to leave the bar,” Darling said.



Darling then convinced the man to leave with him to go hang out. As they exited, he pinned the man to the ground and prevented him from pulling the pin of the grenade.

“He could be a threat – I don’t know how he feels, so I grabbed a hand, swept his whole leg up and put all my weight on the back of his body so he couldn’t get up,” did he declare.

The police then intervened to arrest the man.



The Wilton Manors Police Department did not release the man’s name, but described him in a Press release as an “emotionally disturbed man” who was also “intoxicated” and “in need of mental health services”. They confirmed he had an inert grenade – meaning it couldn’t have exploded – in his possession, but he had no firearms on him.

The man reportedly told police he was “distraught” over the “recent deaths of close friends”. Police say he has since been taken to a facility to receive the mental health services he needs.

About James K. Bonnette

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