By Brian Entin - email
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah-Chatham police arrested two marines Sunday morning for battery.
Around 3:45 a.m., police responded to a call on Congress and Bull streets in Savannah, Ga. When they arrived they found the victim, Kieran Daly, lying on the ground unconscious and two of his friends standing over him.
"I was checking his vitals and realized he had no pulse and wasn't breathing. It became a very scary thing from there," said Daly's friend Alison Brennan.
A friend ran to the officer and told him that Daly had been knocked out by two men. The officer witnessed two men matching the description running down Congress Lane a few minutes prior.
The officer waited for additional units before heading to the location where he saw the two men.
They were located in a fenced-in, dark, empty lot between two buildings on Congress Lane and Barnard Street and were later identified as Christopher Stanzel and Keil Cronauer.
Cronauer told police that earlier in the evening, he and Stanzel were harassed by a white homosexual male and that he was heading toward Bay Street to meet a friend.
Stanzel claimed he was heading toward River Street to meet a friend. Both were put in a police vehicle and taken to the scene for witnesses to identify them.
Friends of Daly identified Stanzel and Cronauer as the suspects. The friends said they were walking east on Congress Street and ran into the two men near Whitaker Street.
According to the police report, they were eating pizza together and joking around. Then, Stanzel found out that Daly was homosexual. One of the friends said she was trying to get Daly to walk away because she heard Cronauer say, "Did you just wink at me?"
Then she said Daly was lying on the ground unconscious.
Daly said the attack was totally unprovoked.
"[Cronauer] looked over at me and I looked at him. I was kind of squinting to see him. When I did that he thought I was winking at him. He said, 'Are you winking at me?' I said, 'No man, I'm just tired,'" Daly said.
Daly says he tried to ignore Cronauer, but Cronauer wouldn't give up. "He kept on going, 'Are you winking at me? Are you winking at me?' Then he asked me if I was gay. I said, 'So what if I am,'" Daly said.
Daly's friend Alison Brennan says she tried to interject.
"The more he kept asking if he was gay, I would say no he is not and I tried to diffuse it that way. But he just became enraged and very angry," Brennan said.
Friends told police the two men took off running west on Congress Street.
Stanzel and Cronauer were charged with battery.
Savannah-Chatham police turned them over to officials from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. They have been placed on barracks restriction until Monday morning when their commanding officers will decide what happens next.
Daly was taken to Memorial University Medical Center and released on Sunday evening.
"I really have a huge respect for the military. I'm very grateful for the service members of this country who give me the right to be free. It shocked me because I thought marines were better than that," he said.