When a DeFuniak Springs Pizza Hut refused to serve Walton County Dep. Bradley Stafford, Hungry Howie’s next door offered him a free meal.
After the offer, 47-year-old employee Howard Battles, Jr. said he was attacked four separate times.
The first was at the corner of 2nd Street and Highway 90 where Battles, who is white, said two black men beat him with a bottle and stick. The second was on Jackson Avenue where he was punched. The third was behind a local grocery store where two people cut him on his left arm. Finally, he said he was cut again Wednesday night when two men stopped him in his car.
DeFuniak Springs police have been investigating the incidents since February 14 but grew suspicious of Battles.
Lt. Dennis Ward of DeFuniak Springs PD says, “During portions of the investigation, things just didn't fit and we started putting everything back together.”
When confronted, Battles finally admitted he had made everything up. He used a knife, rock, barbell and flashlight to injure himself. He had some personal problems and things like that, basically just a cry for help is the best we can tell the reason for all this.
Police say Battles’ claims don’t appear to be racially motivated. He has been taken to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center for a mental evaluation. He will stay there for at least three days at which point medical staff will decide what's next.
Defuniak Springs police have closed all four of the cases as "unfounded.”