Niceville man in coma, requires facial surgery after being pushed down stairs

Photo: Matthew Strickland Source: Okaloosa County County Jail

A Niceville man was critically injured Tuesday morning after being pushed down a flight of stairs for allegedly calling another man's girlfriend a foul name.

According to an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) press release, deputies were called to the 3600 block of Scenic Highway 98 in Destin at around 9:44 a.m.

Details of the press release state that 24-year old Zachary Charles Laubsch of Niceville Avenue was an invited guest at the apartment but was asked to leave for “being disrespectful”.

Laubsch was standing at the top of the stairs when witnesses say he called a woman at the apartment a foul name, according to the release.

The release stated that the woman told deputies that her boyfriend, Matthew Strickland, 22, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, pushed Laubsch down the stairs.

Strickland told OCSO deputies he was just defending himself against Laubsch, who Strickland says reached out toward his neck, the release stated.

According to the press release, Laubsch fell down a flight of stairs approximately 15 feet long before landing on an area rug covering a tile floor.

The latest information on his medical condition was that Laubsch was in a coma and will need facial reconstruction surgery, the press release stated.

Strickland is charged with aggravated battery leading to great bodily harm.

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