Polk sheriff: Man dies after being sucker-punched at a bar

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A funeral service was held at the Fort Green Baptist Church today for 54-year-old William Forrester.

He died last week after what appears to be a random attack June 22 at a bar on the Hardee and Polk county lines.

“This 54-year-old man shouldn’t be dead except for the felonious actions of this individual,” said Sheriff Grady Judd about the 35-year-old accused of punching Forrester, Shane Barrington. 

Deputies say Barrington sucker-punched Forrester, who fell and slammed his head on the ground. 

At the time, Barrington was charged with aggravated battery. However, five days later Forrester died of his head injuries and now Barrington faces manslaughter.

”The witnesses at the bar said, simply, Mr. Forrester showed up to bring food to a friend and this guy sucker punches him,” Sheriff Judd said.

Forrester's friends and family say they don’t know if he and Barrington knew each other.

“I would like to say what was he thinking, but he wasn’t thinking,” said the sheriff. “Here's the message: Mind your business and leave people alone.”

Forrester lived in Bowling Green, Florida for 40 years. He has a son and two daughters, and was an avid fisherman.

Barrington will make his first appearance before a judge on Thursday.