Witness statements and other documents obtained from Southampton Town Justice Court Friday shed more light on what happened Jan. 31 between retired Southampton Village Police Sgt. Darren Gagnon and a Bridgehampton man he is accused of assaulting at a bar.
Gagnon, 51, of Shirley, was charged with assault in the third degree, a misdemeanor, after Southampton Town police said they were called to a fight at Bobby Van's restaurant at 6:06 p.m.
The alleged victim, 42-year-old Craig Cardillo, gave a statement to police, as did four others who were there in Bridgehampton that night.
In a notarized statement to Det. James Mazzio dated Jan. 31, Cardillo said he had arrived at the bar inside Bobby Van's at 4:30 p.m. to meet friends. He said after being there for a while, a man he never met before approached Robert Ranum, the superintendent of Atlantic Golf Club in Bridgehampton. The man — who he later learned was Gagnon — was giving Ranum a hard time about not calling him back, Cardillo said, adding, "He was really acting like a jerk. He came over and did this a couple of times."
Deanna Annis, of Southampton, told police that at one point she saw Cardillo walking up and down the length of the bar saying things like, "This guy's a d---, I'm gonna f--- him up, smash his f----- head."
A deposition from James McNally, of Water Mill, says that after Cardillo and Gagnon argued, the bartender, Gerald Phair, took Cardillo outside to "cool off."
Phair said in his deposition that when Gagnon was arguing with Ranum, Cardillo told Gagnon to "calm down and stop yelling."
Cardillo came back after Phair brought him outside, apologized, and sat down, according to McNally and Phair's statements.
According to her deposition, Annis said that after Cardillo returned, he "kept taunting" Gagnon. No other witness statements corroborate that.
McNally said that 10 minutes after Cardillo returned from outside, Gagnon started to roll up his sleeves, came over again, and punched Cardillo three times — knocking him unconscious with the first punch.
Phair said he saw Gagnon "run from the other end of the bar yelling" and punch Cardillo in the head. Ranum described it as "three straight square shots with his left fist, which was closed, in the jaw."
Ranum said he saw Cardillo's head hit a beam at the end of the bar before Gagnon threw the last two punches.
"Craig fell to the floor motionless," Phair said. "I then called 911."
McNally said he and another man pulled Gagnon off Cardillo, and Gagnon began "challenging" everyone.
Annis told police that she saw "Craig and Darren were fighting and choking each other out."
Cardillo said he recalls telling Gagnon to "go back and sit on his stool and knock it off" when he approached a third time. "The next thing I know, I was on the ground," he said.
Ranum said a number of Bridgehampton Fire Department volunteers were at Bobby Van's, and they assisted Cardillo. He was taken by ambulance to Southampton Hospital.
Cardillo said that when he came to he knew he had been knocked out, but had no idea what happened. His tooth was knocked out, his lip was split open, his throat hurt and he was having trouble swallowing, he said.
According to a Southampton Hospital spokeswoman, Cardillo was discharged two days after.
A document signed by police officer Edward Henderson states that Gagnon told him, in substance, "I thought he was about to take a swing at me so I punched him first!" and "I take full responsibility for my actions."
There was no further statement from Gagnon. When reached by Patch the day after the incident, Gagnon said, on the advice of his attorney, he has no comment.
Annis told police, "I know Darren was a cop. I have to say Darren was so not at fault here tonight. This guy Craig was so abusive and acting like a total d---." She further described him as "drunk, abusive and horrifying."
Justice Edward Burke Sr. issued an order of protection directing Gagnon not to come in contact with Cardillo and to surrender any and all weapons and firearms he owns.
Gagnon is due to appear in Southampton Town Justice Court on Feb. 27.