Victim in Indian Rocks Beach bar fight dies

Shawn Steven Sokol

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office announced Sept. 2 that a man injured in a bar fight in Indian Rocks Beach on Aug. 23 has died.

A 35-year-old Redington Shores man was arrested the day of the fight after Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies found a man seriously injured at a bar in Indian Rocks Beach.

Shawn Steven Sokol was booked into the county jail on one count of aggravated battery and one count of loitering and prowling. Bail was set at $20,250. He has since been charged with a second count of aggravated battery with a bail amount of $250,000.

Deputies responded to JD’s on the Rocks, 125 Gulf Blvd. in Indian Rocks Beach, about 3:24 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23. When they arrived they found discovered Tommy Lee Shytle, 56, of Clearwater lying in the parking lot with a serious injury to his head.

Detectives with the Robbery/Homicide Unit began an investigation and determined Brian Joseph Loch, 34, of North Redington Beach and his friend Sokol had been drinking together at approximately 3:20 p.m. at the bar when Loch became disruptive and challenged Shytle, another bar patron, to a fight outside.

Detectives say when Shytle came outside to confront Loch, Sokol was already outside and standing off to the side out of Shytle’s view. They say Sokol suddenly ran up and struck Shytle in the face with a full force punch. Witnesses told detectives that Shytle was unaware of Sokol’s pending attack and was unable to defend himself.

According to detectives, Sokol’s punch caused Shytle to fall directly to the ground, striking his head on the asphalt parking lot, which resulted in a serious head injury.

Detectives say Sokol fled the scene after punching Shytle. Deputies located Sokol a short time later hiding nearby.

Shytle was transported to a hospital in critical condition. He was pronounced dead at 2:36 p.m. Sept. 2. The sheriff’s office says next of kin and the state attorney’s office have been notified.

If anyone was a witness or has information regarding this investigation, please call Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Detective Creaser at 727-582-5803.