Rio police said with no uncertainty that Ryan Lochte and the three other Olympic swimmers lied about being robbed, but they also admitted during a press conference on Thursday that the swimmers were in fact held at gunpoint.
Fernando Veloso, Rio’s chief of civil police, said that the investigation was still ongoing, but witness statements suggest that the four athletes vandalized a gas station bathroom and were prevented from fleeing the scene by an armed security guard.
“There was no … physical or verbal violence that could lead to them thinking they were victims of a robbery,” he said.
While the athletes were not robbed, Veloso said they handed over a $20 bill and 100 reais (about $50 total) to pay for the damages. He added that one of the three swimmers who remained in Rio corroborated this version of the events, but declined to identify which.
The police chief said the gun was used by the security guard because one of the swimmers — whom he eventually identified as Lochte — was “angry” or “nervous,” and started to get physical.
“[Lochte] was very angry because he was intoxicated,” the police chief said, according to a CNN translator. “He was probably drunk.”
The security guard’s identity is being protected “for fear of retaliation,” Veloso said. Police are still investigating whether there was an inappropriate use of force, but he reiterated that it is “improbable that an average person would consider that a robbery situation.”
All four of the athletes could still be charged with false testimony and vandalism. Lochte, who returned to the U.S. on Monday, will give his statement to the FBI, which is working with Rio police on the investigation.