Police officers have identified the main suspect: a 25-year-old. Romanian world of basketball is in mourning. The US Embassy in Bucharest expressed its concern and announced that it is carefully monitoring the investigation.
American basketball player Chauncey Hardy died on Sunday evening after he was beaten by a group of men in a nightclub in Giurgiu, Realitatea TV informs. Hardy was CSS Giurgiu’s game coordinator. The player suffered head trauma, the doctors of the Bagdasar hospital being unable to save him despite their best efforts. According to hotnews.ro, the 23-year-old man and his teammates were celebrating CSS Giurgiu’s victory against Dinamo Bucharest. Hardy Chauncey was the best player of the game that his team won against Dinamo Bucharest on Saturday, score 91-86. The American scored 22 points, playing the whole game. Hardy started playing for CSS Giurgiu in August. He graduated from the Sacred Heart University and played four seasons in the NCAA.
According to Mediafax, Giurgiu police officers have identified the main suspect. 25-year-old George Ionut Tanasoaia was heard by prosecutors, being placed under 29 days remand for disturbing public peace and causing grievous bodily harm that resulted in death.
“The investigation is ongoing. We have a circle of suspects and we can say we have identified the main suspect who has admitted his crime,” Police Commissioner Catalin Georgescu stated for Mediafax. He pointed out that the process of identifying the suspects faces some difficulties because the nightclub’s surveillance cameras were not working at the time of the incident.
According to unofficial sources quoted by gsp.ro, the criminal is part of an underworld clan known as ‘Butoane.’ The clan members allegedly climbed on top of the basketball players’ tables in order to dance on them. The American player allegedly told the suspect to step down but the latter reacted violently. Hardy appears to have been punched, hitting his head when falling to the ground.
Smarandita Iliescu, CSS Giurgiu’s manager, accuses the incorrect way in which police treated the players. “Do you want me to tell you how the authorities reacted? They immediately took my boys in for hearings, but did not bother the suspects. (…) These aggressors are well-known underworld members,” she stated on Antena 3.
Day of mourning for Romanian world of basketball
Romanian Basketball Federation President Carmen Tocala stated for Mediafax: “The Romanian world of basketball is in mourning and, unfortunately, the image that Romania has after this tragedy is not pleasant at all. A Marian Cozma case has taken place in Romania. I don’t want to say more, but a lot of things are going on in Giurgiu.”
Tocala said the player’s family has been informed about the tragedy by the US Embassy in Bucharest. ‘I understand it is a family of poor means, he had many brothers. The money he earned was sent to his family,’ she added.
Hardy’s mates are shocked, according to Realitatea.net. They gathered on Monday at the Sports Hall in Giurgiu and lit candles, laid flowers and kept a moment of silence in his memory.
In a similar incident, Romanian handball player Marian Cozma was killed in 2009 in a nightclub in Veszprem, Hungary. Cozma was stabbed by a member of the Hungarian underworld. Seven persons were convicted in Hungary for that murder.
The US Embassy in Bucharest expressed its concern and announced that it is carefully monitoring the investigation, at the same time extending its condolences to the bereaved family.
According to ‘Ring’ newspaper, another four basketball players with CSS Giurgiu are in hospital after the incidents at the Emotionne club. According to the paper two of them are believed to be disfigured and a third one has broken ribs. It seems the fight wasn’t seen by anyone in the club, not even by the American’s colleagues.
Police spokesperson Mirela Gheta stated that the manager of the club in which the incident took place was fined RON 5,000 because the video surveillance system was not working at the time.
The Health Ministry announced yesterday that it has asked the Giurgiu Public Health Office and the Bagdasar Hospital to urgently start an investigation into the manner in which emergency procedures and protocols were respected. If the results are inconclusive, the Health Ministry will start its own investigation in order to establish whether the medical procedures were correct.
International media reactions
CBS Sports: American basketball player Chauncey Hardy murdered
“An incredibly sad story via the Huffington Post about an American basketball player murdered in Romania. Chauncey Hardy, a 23-year-old from Sacred Heart playing for CSS Giurgiu, was reportedly attacked at a bar and died from the injuries sustained. (…) Nothing else to say, except for thoughts to Hardy’s family”.
Associated Press: Man held in Romania over Hardy’s death
“Romanian prosecutors say a man has been detained over the killing of American basketball player Chauncey Hardy. Ionut Adrian Tanasoaia surrendered to police early Monday. He is accused of beating up Hardy in a bar in the southern Romanian city of Giurgiu on Saturday night.”
“Former Sacred Heart guard Chauncey Hardy died after suffering two heart attacks following the beating on Saturday night. Hardy, 23, had severe head injuries and was in a coma when he was admitted to the hospital. Hardy died shortly after undergoing surgery in a Bucharest hospital. ‘We are deeply saddened by the loss of a fine young man who had his life cut short at such a young age while he was overseas doing something he loved,’ Sacred Heart Athletic Director C. Donald Cook said in a statement quoted by Daily Mail. ‘