Investigators arrest tavern workers in kidnapping, assault investigation

Golden Deleon, Tim Lawhorn and Gary Long.
Golden Deleon, Tim Lawhorn and Gary Long.

GOOSE CREEK, SC (WCSC) - Three workers at a Goose Creek tavern have been arrested in connection to a kidnapping and assault investigation.

Investigators arrested 41-year-old Gary Long, 30-year-old Golden Deleon and 35-year-old Tim Lawhorn. The arrest follows on the heels of investigators seizing surveillance video from the Two Keys Tavern on College Park Road on Wednesday. Capt. John Grainger with the Goose Creek Police Department says the video shows a patron being struck by an individual using a pool cue.

All three men were charged with six counts of kidnapping and two counts of armed robbery with a deadly weapon. Long and Lawhorn were also each charged with two counts of first-degree assault and battery.

According to police warrants, on April 21, Long, the manager of the tavern at the time, was attempting to collect bets from gambling that was taking place on pool games. Police say Long then ordered bouncers to lock down the business and not allow anyone to leave.

Warrants state that Long gave Lawhorn, a bouncer at the tavern, the "green light" to assault a man. Police say Lawhorn then hit the man with a pool stick and held him down while Deleon, another bouncer, forcibly removed the victim's cellphone and money.

Mark Keller, owner of the Two Keys Tavern, released a statement on Friday saying that the three men arrested were no longer working for the tavern.

"The three individuals are no longer employed or associated with Two Keys Tavern, so this is now in the hands of the police and the courts. It will be up to them to determine where the truth lies," Keller said in a statement Friday afternoon."It's unfortunate that the incident occurred on the premises of Two Keys Tavern, but those who know us and care about what happens there, know that this type of incident is uncharacteristic of our establishment."

Police officers were informed of the incident after one of the victims called 911 on Saturday and told emergency personnel that a friend of theirs had been struck at the tavern.The four victims told investigators that they were held against their will after a manager became angry over an unpaid bet and locked the tavern.

Two of the victims told officers that one of the bouncers was given the "green light" by the manager to assault one of the patrons. A police report states that the bouncer approached one of the victims from behind and struck him with a pool cue.

One of the victims reported to police that 20 people were inside the tavern when the manager ordered the establishment to be locked down.

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