Winter Haven PD seeks witness video of suspect hitting 90-year-old veteran in Publix parking lot

Surveillance image of the suspects' vehicle.

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) – Winter Haven police are asking for help finding any witnesses who might have video of a disturbing crime involving a person who assaulted a 90-year-old Air Force veteran in the parking lot of a Winter Haven Publix. The elderly man hit the pavement face first and blacked out. He was transported to a local hospital.

Investigators say the assault happened at 4:50 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25.

The 90-year-old victim was backing his vehicle out of a parking space at the Publix located at 1395 6th St NW in Winter Haven.

At the same time, a black 4-door vehicle, possibly a Kia, was driving down the same aisle in the wrong direction.

According to the victim, he looked behind him and it appeared the aisle was clear for him to back out. However, the black vehicle appeared from the opposite direction and the two vehicles collided.

Although there was minor damage to the cars, police say what transpired next is anything but minor.

Detectives say the victim got out of his car and immediately both occupants of the black vehicle got out and started cursing, yelling and causing a disturbance. As this was going on, multiple people were walking back and forth nearby and vehicles were driving by as well. The arguing escalated and went on for approximately six minutes, while bystanders watched.

At that point, detectives say one of the occupants from the black vehicle struck the victim, causing him to land on the pavement face first and also strike his head. The force of the fall resulted in the victim briefly losing consciousness.

Both suspects started to get back inside of the vehicle when a witness attempted to keep the vehicle from leaving. The witness was dragged a short distance before falling to the ground as the suspects’ vehicle sped away.

The witness did not suffer any injuries.

The victim was taken to Winter Haven Hospital where he was admitted for the injuries including a severe cut to his head and large facial scrapes. Both of his hands and arms were scraped and bruised. At this time, his status has improved and his injuries are non-life-threatening.

Police believe there were witnesses who recorded the incident – even prior to when the victim was assaulted.

Anyone who saw the incident and may have recorded what was happening  is asked to contact Winter Haven Police Detective Rod Esteve at (863) 401-2256.

Police have also released a video that shows the suspects’ vehicle in the Publix parking lot.

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