5 soldiers arrested for beating a man - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

5 soldiers arrested for beating a man

Dillon Fisher (Source: Muscogee County Jail) Dillon Fisher (Source: Muscogee County Jail)
Nathan Smajda (Source: Muscogee County Jail) Nathan Smajda (Source: Muscogee County Jail)
Raymond Crowder(Source: Muscogee County Jail) Raymond Crowder(Source: Muscogee County Jail)
Shawn Kaverman (Source: Muscogee County Jail) Shawn Kaverman (Source: Muscogee County Jail)
Tyler Browning (Source: Muscogee County Jail) Tyler Browning (Source: Muscogee County Jail)

By Web Staff – email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Five soldiers are charged with aggravated battery in connection to the beating of a man downtown early Saturday morning.

Police say Nathan Smajda, Shawn Kaverman, Dillon Fisher and Raymond Crowder pulled up to the victim in a Chevrolet Avalanche and attacked him around 3:00 a.m. Saturday morning on 10th Street and First Avenue. Authorities say Tyler Browning did not actually touch the victim, but he is charged because he did not report the attack.

The 21-year-old man who was attacked has multiple injuries, including temporary vision loss and possible bleeding in the brain. He is in the hospital in unsatisfactory condition.

A 25-year-old woman was also hit and elbowed in the face when she tried to break up the fight.

The incident is under investigation by Columbus Police and Fort Benning authorities. 

The victim of the beating, Eric Gutliph, sat down with News Leader Nine to tell exactly what happened to him.

It was early Saturday morning when Eric Gutliph and his friends were making their way to their car at the intersection of 10th Street and 1st Avenue. Suddenly their night on the town turned in to a trip to the emergency room.

Eric Gutliph is lucky to be alive after witnesses say he was beaten by four Fort Benning soldiers as another stood by and watched. But when you ask Eric what happened he responds, "I was leaving Mix, walking back to the car and that's the last thing I remember."

His friend Kristy Gibson, who was also hit during the fight, added, "We didn't see them in the club we were in that night, we went to Mix. We had no problems with anybody, everything was fine. We were just walking to the car when all of a sudden this Chevy Avalanche comes out of nowhere and these guys jump out."

Although all Eric can recall is waking up in the hospital Saturday morning, his friends have helped him piece together what happened, "We were on the way, leaving, going to one of my buddy's vehicles and an Avalanche pulled up and out jumped four guys. Somebody was driving and they really don't know from there. They attacked me."

Gibson told News Leader 9, "You can see where they were fighting. This is Eric's blood down here where they threw his head into the concrete. They were just beating him and the one guy had his arms, sitting on top of him, with his arms pinned down, just whaling into him."

"Somebody else picked me up and slammed me on my head. Somebody jumped on top of me and started hitting me in the face," added Gutliph.

The 21-year-old says he now suffers from memory loss along with several other injuries from the attack, "A head injury, slight loss of vision in my right eye, broken nose and busted lips."

He says if his friends hadn't been by his side that night, he wouldn't be sitting here today.

His friends say, they are just glad the beating the stopped when it did, "Eric could have died, it was that bad. He lost that much blood. He's still in the hospital."

The five suspects -- Nathan Smadja, Shawn Kaverman, Dillon Fisher, Raymond Crowder and Tyler Browning -- were all arrested and charged with aggravated battery. Two of the men have already bonded out of jail.

Their case has been bound over to superior court.

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