A bouncer at a Clearwater Beach bar remained in the Pinellas County jail Wednesday night, charged with choking a patron to death.
Paul Stucker, 43, is accused of putting David McTamney, 51, in a wrestling-style hold to pull him out of the Brown Boxer Pub and Grille. Investigators said the two then fell to the ground, where Stucker then put the victim in a choke-hold.
"Once he crosses that threshold and goes outside, he doesn't just release him and be done with him, which is what he should have done," said Rob Shaw, a spokesperson for the Clearwater Police Department. "He stays on top of him and he has him in kind of a choke hold for almost two minutes."
Police said several witnesses tried to get Stucker to let McTamney go. Authorities said he died later that morning at Morton Plant Hospital.
One of the witnesses was Sherry Russell, who told Fox 13 she thought the victim has passed away in front of her.
"He would not let go. He was just choking, choking him, and he had already turned blue, and we just knew he was gone," she said.
Russell said when the ordeal started moments earlier inside the bar she had no idea what it would eventually escalate to.
"We stood there by the dance floor and were just watching everybody dance, and this one guy, which was David, he was dancing, having fun, not doing a thing," Russell said, adding the incident has left her forever shaken.
"We talk about it every day. It's in my mind every day. I feel so sorry for what happened to him and his family," she said.
Stucker turned himself into to authorities.
Fox 13 legal analyst Jeff Brown said prosecutors will have to answer several questions about McTamney's actions if they choose to pursue these charges in court.
"Why was he placed in this hold? What was he doing that was disorderly? Did he resist? Was he dragged out of there because he was fighting with the bouncer?" Brown said.
Stucker told police McTamney was, in fact, acting disorderly, and that's why he chose to remove him from the bar.
Russell, who didn't know the victim, said that's not at all the case. She said she's hoping McTamney's loved ones feel the same sense of relief she felt when she heard the victim's accused killer was arrested.
"I don't think any time or anything that they give him would be fair because he took someone else's life, but I hope that justice is served," Russell said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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