JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Navy veteran is recovering after police said a couple assaulted him early Sunday outside the American Legion Post 283 in Arlington.
Terry Lodge, 55, and William Lodge, 60, are each charged with misdemeanor battery after police said they were involved in a drunken assault around 1 a.m. Sunday that hospitalized Charles Hughes.
Terry Lodge, 55, is listed as the owner of Wing Depot, a restaurant and bar on University Boulevard near Jacksonville University.
Witnesses told police that an argument started at the bar inside the American Legion post. They said when Hughes, 66, walked outside, attempting to leave, the Lodges chased after him into the parking lot.
Witnesses told News4Jax that Hughes was joking around, tossing coasters into the air at the American Legion, when one landed near Terry Lodge and her husband, William Lodge.
Tammy Shipp was at the bar, visiting with friends, when she said an argument over the thrown coasters broke out.
Witnesses said the two became angry and began arguing with Hughes but said that Hughes decided to leave.
"I saw the looks on their face, and I told my friend Jamie, I said, 'Something's about to happen and I'm worried for Charles,'" Shipp said.
Witnesses said that when Hughes walked outside, they saw the Lodges follow him, then start punching and kicking him.
Shipp described what she saw after she followed Hughes to the parking lot.
"The wife was kicking Charles in the head. The husband was just whaling on him. Jamie and two of the men ran over and tried to pull the guy off of Charles. It took all of them to do it," Shipp said. "Seeing someone beaten like that was, it was just hurtful. (It) was terrifying. What they did was mean and unjustified."
When officers arrived, they found Hughes lying on the ground with blood running from his face. He was taken to Memorial Hospital to be treated for his injuries.
His son said he has since been released. Witnesses said Hughes suffered a broken nose, broken eye socket and other fractures.
People who know Hughes said what happened to him was unjustifiable. Jim Welch, the commander at the post, said what happened is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. He said he will bring the incident up in the next board meeting to see what happens next.
"I've been a member there for 14 years, and we've never had something like this happen here. This is totally out of character,” Welch said.
Welch said the Lodges have been members for about seven or eight years.
"I know this is totally out of character for them. They usually come in later, after their business is closed, and they sit around, play on their iPads and talk to each other in the same spot, but they've never bothered anybody in the past that I know of,” Welch said.
The arrest report noted that both the Lodges were “highly intoxicated” when they were arrested.
Welch said the incident will go to the board of directors to see if memberships will be revoked.
"We bring in the witnesses and all of the statements of everybody that was there and also people accused, and the one that was attacked will possibly be there,” Welch said. “It's up to them to make that decision."
The next board meeting for Post 283 is set for June 15.
According to a Facebook post from the owner of an Arlington tattoo shop, a protest of Wing Depot is being planned because of the incident.
“This behavior from a business owner directly in my neighborhood will not be tolerated,” Todd Lake wrote. “Please stand with us.”
Attorney for Lodges says his clients are innocent
News4Jax attempted to contact the Lodges, but they declined to respond for comment. But Miguel Rosada, the attorney representing Terry and William Lodge, said his clients are innocent.
"There's a lot that we're working to uncover right now. However, we're fairly confident that when everything does come to light, they will be exonerated," Rosada said.
Rosada pointed to William Lodge's injuries, saying he and his wife were beaten by Hughes.
"Unfortunately, the alleged victim may have had too much to drink and confronted Mr. Lodge when he tried to ask him why he decided to throw projectiles at Mr. and Mrs. Lodge at the bar," Rosada said.
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