Ryan Lochte and three of his Olympic teammates were robbed at gunpoint in Rio on Saturday night, the U.S. Olympic Committee confirmed on Sunday.
Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen were traveling in a taxi when it was stopped by people posing as armed police officers, the Olympic Committee said in a statement. They reportedly were leaving Club France, the French hospitality house located in the ritzy Lagoa neighborhood that was established for the Olympic games.
“They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground — they got down on the ground,” Lochte told NBC News. “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 cell phone, he left my credentials.”
“All four athletes are safe and cooperating with authorities,” the Olympic Committee said.
Lochte’s mother told USA Today that the athletes were “all shaken up.” “They just took their wallets and basically that was it,” Ileana Lochte said.
This is not the first violent incident at the Rio games. On the night of the opening ceremony, the chief of security was mugged at knifepoint. A Portuguese minister and an aide were robbed at knifepoint. In Rio neighborhood Ipanema, two coaches of the Australian rowing team were also robbed at knifepoint. A bus carrying journalists had its windows shattered, possibly by gunfire. And earlier this week, a Brazilian Olympic security officer was killed when he got lost in one of the city’s slums.
Over 85,000 security officers have been deployed to Rio to protect the athletes amid worries about the city’s violent crime. Brazil is in the midst of an economic crisis that has left over 10 million people unemployed and inflation skyrocketing.