Police have made an arrest in connection with a robbery and brutal beating that left a pharmacist hospitalized with critical injuries.
Temple Terrace Police said Brandon James Walker, 25, of Naples is in custody.
Detectives said Walker busted into a business adjacent to Omega Drugs Pharmacy on North 56th Street on Saturday. A police spokesperson said Walker then made his way through a crawl space to get into the pharmacy.
Once inside, detectives said the suspect snuck up behind the pharmacist and began beating him in the head with a paper hole puncher on a desk.
Authorites said a strange turn of events led them to Walker. Police said he was involved in a hit-and-run car accident early Monday morning, then boarded a HART bus. That's where he had a bizarre conversation with another passenger.
Police spokesperson Michael Dunn said the passenger asked Walker about a mark on his face. Walker told him a pharmacist had bitten him. The suspicious conversation led the passenger to call 911.
"We feel very fortunate and we're very grateful for the passenger who realized something was suspicious about all of this and notified the Sheriff's Office," Dunn said. "That's something we would urge any resident or citizen to do."
The pharmacist, who owns the store, was alone and closing up shop for the night.
The pharmacist's daughter, who wished to not be named, said she was horrified when she saw her father in the hospital.
"He had a lot of head trauma from being hit by the hole puncher, I had no idea how much damage a hole puncher can do," she said Monday.
The pharmacist is listed in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital. The 59-year-old is suffering from lacerations to the face and hands, fractures to the head, and brain bleeding.
"There are people like my dad who are just trying to make an honest living taking care of their patients and they're becoming victims to these criminals," the pharmacist's daughter said, adding her father is conscious and speaking,
Dunn said Walker is facing attempted murder, robbery, burglary and hit-and-run charges.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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