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UPDATE: Hookah lounge accident
The owner of a downtown nightspot never imagined someone would drive a truck through his front window. It happened early Saturday morning at the Hookah Corner in Fort Walton Beach.
Laura Hussey "On the average weekend night, the Hookah Corner in downtown Fort Walton Beach is packed, including this seating area in front of the store. About four-o-clock Saturday morning, they were winding down, they were about to close. Fortunately this area was empty"
This is a picture of what happened next. A pickup truck, six feet inside the front window.
Abdul Gurgues/owner "I thought it was an accident, but when they told me he did it on purpose, I got shocked"
Employees told owner Abdul Gurgues that this man, 22-year-old Hurlburt Field airman Joseph Diaz, followed a woman into the lounge. The police report says the two were arguing, and that diaz had strangled her. Gurgues says the argument continued inside, so his staff asked Diaz to leave.
Abdul Gurgues "The guy went outside and kicked the glass and break the glass. Then he went to his truck across the street and just drove it into the store"
The truck smashed through thick bulletproof glass, destroying the entryway and more than a dozen hookahs. Employees say Diaz then chased them, and the woman, through the store and out the back door. They got away; Diaz was picked up returning to Hurlburt.
Despite the damage to his business, Abdul Gurgues says he hopes the court and military authorities will give Diaz some compassion.
Abdul "A lot of kids make a mistake, and he's going to pay for it, but I hope he's going to learn from what he did. I have nothing against him"
The charges against Diaz include assault, battery and property damage.
Laura Hussey "This is the only hookah lounge in Okaloosa County. The owner says he intends to have it up and running by the weekend."