Police: Martial arts instructor knocked out USF student

- After days of searching, police in St. Petersburg have arrested the man they say knocked out a USF student on St. Patrick's Day.

Police now believe the victim -  26-year-old Brian Neal - was trying to stop the suspect  - Zachary Kenneth Allen -from verbally harassing a woman nearby. But police say Allen decided to punch Neal instead.

It happened outside Detroit Liquors at the corner of Central Avenue and 2nd Street. Neal, an engineering undergrad, fell and hit his head. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

Officers arrested Allen Thursday. It was unclear what led them to him, but St. Pete Police Maj. Shannon Halstead said the victim's family was grateful for the work done to track him down. 

Allen apparently teaches the fighting style of Jiu-Jitsu in Largo. Videos posted on his Youtube page show him grappling with other fighters. His instructor, Rodrigo Grenno said he's shocked to hear Allen is accused of fighting someone outside of class.

Neal's girlfriend shared a message with FOX 13, calling him a "hard-working, sweet, caring, goofy man." 

She writes, "I don't know why anyone would want to hurt someone like that."

Allen had no comment for FOX 13 cameras as he was placed into a SPPD squad car Thursday afternoon. He is being on a $10,000 bond and will appear in court Friday. The other two men seen with Allen in surveillance video have not been charged.

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