Police arrested a 25-year-old man Monday in the attempted murder of a pharmacist.
Brandon James Walker of Naples is accused of breaking into a pharmacy Saturday night and beating the pharmacist with a hole-punch machine.
The pharmacist, Akinbo Babatunde, 59, of Wesley Chapel remained in critical condition Monday at Tampa General Hospital, according to the Temple Terrace Police Department.
Walker broke into Omega Drugs pharmacy at 11410 N. 56th St. by entering the rear of the shopping center where it’s located and climbing into the store through a crawl space in the ceiling, according to police. He surprised Babatunde from behind and began beating him and demanding drugs. Walker escaped with a small amount of prescriptions.
"This was a person who was desperate to get those drugs," said Temple Terrace Police spokesman Michael Dunn.
Police said Walker was in town to paint an Ybor City building for the business where he works, Tim Moore Paint Company in Naples. Early Monday morning, he was involved in hit-and-run accident while driving a company vehicle, according to police.
Walker then reportedly boarded a HART bus and a passenger asked about a mark on his face. Police said he told the passenger he had been “bitten by a pharmacist.”
The passenger contacted law enforcement, who helped police track down Walker at a Tampa hotel.
"It was a fortuitous turn of events," Dunn said. "We're very grateful for the passenger who realized something was suspicious about all of this."
Walker has been charged with attempted murder, armed robbery, occupied armed burglary and three other counts of burglary. According to Dunn, Walker is also facing charges from the hit-and-run accident Monday morning.