Polk man accused of punching 73-year-old man in Publix parking lot turns himself in

Winter Haven police said the man suspected of attacking a 73-year-old veteran outside a Publix store has turned himself in.

According to investigators, 43-year-old Donald Ray Walker punched the victim repeatedly after a verbal confrontation in the parking lot over the weekend. They described the encounter as a "brutal beating," saying the altercation occurred Saturday around 2:20 p.m. at the Publix along Cypress Gardens Boulevard.

According to the police department, the victim was walking out of the store when he entered the crosswalk in the parking lot. That's when the driver of a pewter-colored Ford F-250 "sped by faster than it should have" and came close to striking the 73-year-old man.

Officials said the elderly man yelled out at the driver and the truck slowed down. An argument occurred as the truck driver, later identified as Walker, drove away.

Walker eventually stopped and exited the Ford truck. Investigators said Walker punched the victim.

Police said the elderly man told Walker he was calling the police. In response, Walker walked back to the victim and "pummeled the elderly man."

"He then took the cell phone out of the victim's hand and smashed it to the ground not allowing him to call for help," according to a news release by the Winter Haven Police Department. 

Earlier in the day, Walker and his family were eating at the nearby China Buffet, where police were able to capture a surveillance image of the suspect. Police released the image over the weekend, leading to numerous tips that helped them identify the suspect.