DADE CITY — The deputy responding to the barroom brawl found Frederick McCray drinking a beer with one hand and holding a bloody towel with the other.
Underneath the towel pressed to McCray's head was his right ear, "hanging by a thread," the Pasco County Sheriff's Office report said.
It was the wee morning hours Sunday, and McCray, 48, had been drinking at Cooper's Bar, a Carver Heights tavern that has seen two murders in three years.
He was having a good time, the report said, until he got into an argument with a man named Ronny D about whether "the feds" were watching Ronny D's house.
Ronny D walked away, and McCray sat down on a crate outside the bar, drinking his beer. Then another man walked up to McCray, gave him a "bear hug" and began to shake McCray aggressively.
When he let go, the man struck McCray with a beer bottle on the right side of the face, nearly slicing off his ear. McCray, who was drunk and slurring his words, told the deputy he didn't know who the man was or why the man hit him with the bottle.
The man fled the bar at 13500 Center St. in a blue Ford Crown Victoria, and was later stopped by Dade City police near 10th Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard, the report said.
McCray rode with the deputy to the traffic stop and identified Kornelious Larry, 18, of 1328 Herschell St., Lakeland, as his attacker.
Larry faces a charge of aggravated battery and remained at the Land O'Lakes jail Monday in lieu of $5,000 bail. He told deputies that "someone" had hit McCray with a bottle during an argument, but that he didn't know who. McCray's condition is unknown.
Camille C. Spencer can be reached at (813) 909-4609 or firstname.lastname@example.org.