WILMINGTON ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - The Chatham County Police Department is investigating after a former Savannah firefighter was punched on New Year’s Eve and later died.
Officers were called to Basil’s on Wilmington Island on Dec. 31 for a report of an assault. Bruce Helmly, 66, told officers he had been punched by a man at the restaurant. Witnesses told police the attack on Helmly was unexpected and unprovoked.
Helmly refused medical treatment the night of the incident and went home.
The next morning, Helmly was taken to the hospital after losing consciousness. He later died at the hospital on Jan. 8.
On Jan. 2, police arrested 19-year-old Charles Alexander Jacobson Teeple, IV in connection with the punch that targeted Helmly. Teeple was charged with battery. He has been discharged from the detention center.
As the investigation continues, detectives will look closely at the cause of Helmly’s death to see if the punch he sustained on New Year’s Eve had anything to do with his death. Police say if there are any additional charges, they will be based on autopsy results.
"We bring charges based on evidence. And sometimes it takes time to gather that evidence. In this particular case, medical evidence is going to be very important. We’re waiting on the full report from the medical examiner and based on what that says, we’ll make a determination as to whether or not anything will happen in this particular case,” CCPD Public Information Officer Betsy Nolen said.
**The Chatham County Police Department later sent out a correction on the name of the man charged in this case. They say the person arrested for battery in relation to this case was booked under the name Charles Alexander Jacobson Teeple, IV, not Charles Teeple, Jr. as previously released.