DESTIN — A Niceville resident was critically injured after a Tennessee man pushed him down a flight of stairs for calling his girlfriend foul names.

According to a press release from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to 3695 Scene Highway 98 in Destin at around 9:44 a.m. Tuesday.

They say 24-year old Zachary Charles Laubsch of Niceville Avenue was an invited guest at the apartment but was then asked to leave for “being disrespectful," according to the press release.

While standing at the top of the stairs, witnesses told authorities he called a woman at the apartment a foul name. The woman said her boyfriend, 22-year-old Matthew Strickland of Chattanooga, Tennessee, then pushed Laubsch down the stairs.

Strickland told deputies he was just defending himself after Laubsch reached out toward his neck.

Laubsch fell down a flight of stairs approximately 15 feet in length before landing on an area carpet covering a tile floor.

The sheriff's office said the man was in a coma and will need facial reconstruction surgery.

Strickland is charged with aggravated battery leading to great bodily harm. He is being held in the Okaloosa County Jail on $50,000 bond.