U.S. Olympic swimming star Ryan Lochte and three other U.S. swimmers claimed they were robbed at gunpoint early Sunday morning in Rio de Janeiro by armed men pretending to be police officers.
In Brazil, a country with one of the highest murder rates in the world, there is talk of eliminating some gun control legislation in order for the people to be able to defend themselves. According to Wikipedia, in 2005 the people of Brazil voted overwhelmingly to maintain their gun rights and stop banning the sale of guns and ammunition to civilians. But pro-gun-control politicians and media found a way around the people’s will by evaluating gun carry permits on an individual basis and denying the vast majority of applications. Now, Americans are paying the price.
Supporters say freeing up gun sales in Brazil will allow people to protect themselves in a country plagued by violent robbery and intense confrontations between drug gangs and police, with an estimated 40,000 gun-related deaths each year. According to Vice News:
Firearms are responsible for 116 deaths every day in Brazil, according to a new study — a rate of nearly five people every hour.”
According to Fox News:
Olympian swimmer Ryan Lochte, 32, told NBC the quartet of swimmers were in a taxi coming home from a party at Club France when the cab pulled over and was accosted by a group of men who flashed a police badge and guns.
“They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground — they got down on the ground,” Lochte said. “I refused, I was like, ‘We didn’t do anything wrong, so — I’m not getting down on the ground.’
“And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, ‘Get down,’ and I put my hands up, I was like ‘Whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cellphone, he left my credentials.”
A U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman identified the other swimmers — Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen — and said all four were “safe and cooperating with authorities.”
A spokesman for Club France, Hugo Sppezapria, told The Washington Post that Lochte and a friend left Club France around 3 a.m. and visited another “community.”
“Why the hell would they do that?” Sppezapria said.
Brazilian police issued a statement that said no crime had been reported.
“The Civil Police were not notified about the robbery which an American swimmer suffered after leaving a party,” the statement said. “The institution is investigating the incident, on the base of information circulated by the press.
“The American Consulate was contacted and said it had not been notified either. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that the U.S. Committee denied the crime. The investigation is in progress.”
Lochte’s mom initially broke the news to Fox Sports Australia and USA Today on Sunday morning.
“I think they’re all shaken up,” Ileana Lochte told USA Today. “There were a few of them. No, they were just, they just took their wallets and basically that was it.”
That account was later confirmed by the spokesman of a friend of Lochte’s, The Washington Post reported.
International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said the U.S. Olympic Committee initially denied the story, but it looked like that denial “is not correct.” Earlier, Adams had said the reports were “absolutely not true.” He had said his information came from the swimmer and the USOC.
Rio organizers spokesman Mario Andrada said he has been briefed on an “issue” involving the swimmer, but could not say if Lochte was held at gunpoint.
Lochte, who has 12 career Olympic medals and five gold medals, swam in two events at the Rio Games, winning gold in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay.
More from Fox News:
VIDEO: Ryan Lochte and Three Olympic Teammates Who Claim They Were Robbed at Gunpoint in Rio
sources: Fox News, NYMag.com, Youtube, Wikipedia, USA Today, NBC