Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Public safety

Naples man charged in beating of pharmacist, prescription drug theft

TEMPLE TERRACE — A Naples man was charged Monday with attempted murder and armed robbery after authorities say he tried to steal prescription drugs this weekend from a pharmacist he left in critical condition.

Brandon James Walker, 25, was arrested at 2 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel in Tampa, according to Temple Terrace police. His charges also include occupied armed burglary and three other counts of burglary.

Walker came into the shopping center at 11410 N 56th St. on Saturday through the back of a nearby business. Just before 8 p.m., he climbed through a crawl space in the ceiling to get to Omega Drugs Pharmacy, police said.

Walker surprised the pharmacist from behind and hit him with a commercial hole-punch machine several times, police said. Walker left with a small amount of prescription drugs. The pharmacist, Akinbo Babatunde, called police. Babatunde, 59, of Wesley Chapel remains in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital.

Walker had been working in Ybor City with Tim Moore Painting Co. of Naples. Early Monday, he was involved in a hit-and-run accident with his company vehicle, police said. He then boarded a Hillsborough Area Regional Transit bus where he attributed a mark on his face to another passenger as being "bitten by a pharmacist."

Walker borrowed the passenger's cellphone to make a call. Soon after, the passenger called authorities, and a trail led to Walker at the hotel.

He was booked in to the Orient Road jail.

Walker has a history with police. He was charged with aggravated battery for an act that occurred Jan. 1, 2008, in Collier County and with grand theft auto in May 2008.

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