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Tampa man dies after being punched in face over bike dispute

Published Aug. 12, 2015

TAMPA — A punch to the face over a bicycle led to a man's death, deputies said.

Armin Aguilar-Velazco was struck on Aug. 5. The blow knocked him back, deputies said, causing his head to strike the pavement. He never regained consciousness.

He died five days later, on Monday, at the age of 48.

The man accused of delivering the fatal blow — Darnell Lee Flournoy, 47 — now faces a manslaughter charge. Flournoy told Hillsborough sheriff's deputies he threw the punch because he believed the victim had stolen his bike a year ago.

"I knocked him … out," Flournoy told deputies. "He deserved it."

Deputies could not say whether or not the disputed bike did, in fact, belong to Flournoy.

The Aug. 5 incident took place about 8 p.m., according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Flournoy arrived on his bicycle at the Stop and Shop at 1201 E 142nd Ave. and noticed another bike chained to the store. Flournoy thought the chained bike resembled one that was stolen from him a year ago.

The owner of the chained bike, Aguilar-Velazco, was next door at the laundromat visiting with a friend. Aguilar-Velazco noticed Flournoy inspecting his bike, so he left the laundromat and walked over, said Stop and Shop manager Ayman Alkasri, 48.

What happened next was relayed to store employees by Stop and Shop's owner, who witnessed the punch but could not be reached for comment.

As Aguilar-Velazco tried to leave, the owner said, Flournoy punched him square in the face, sending Aguilar-Velazco flying backward. His head hit the ground, leaving him unconscious.

A woman performed CPR on Aguilar-Velazco until paramedics arrived and took him to Tampa General Hospital. The owner told Flournoy to leave, Alkasri said, but he returned to the scene and locked the two bikes together.

"Somebody died, and somebody is going to jail for nothing," Alkasri said. "It's a really stupid thing, and that's what's a shame about it."

Flournoy was arrested Aug. 5 on charges of robbery and felony battery. The manslaughter charge was added Monday.

He was held Tuesday in the Hillsborough County jail in lieu of $140,000 bail.

Contact Michael Majchrowicz at (813) 226-3374 or Follow @mjmajchrowicz.


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