HAINES CITY – A Haines City man who got the nickname “Roid Rage” and was arrested two days ago on a domestic battery charge died in the Polk Central County Jail today of an apparent heart attack.
Anthony Dale McKnight, 40, collapsed within minutes of being taken to the jail’s infirmary. He then became unresponsive and stopped breathing. Jail staff performed CPR on McKnight until EMS arrived and continued life-saving measures while transporting him to Bartow Regional Medical Center.
He was pronounced dead at 8:09 a.m.
“Preliminarily it appeared at Bartow Regional Medical Center that McKnight suffered a fatal heart attack,” noted Carrie Eleazer, public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, in her report on the case.
“An autopsy was conducted today to determine exact cause of death,” Eleazer said. “The autopsy revealed McKnight had an enlarged heart, nearly twice the size of a normal adult, and 95 percent blockage in the left descending coronary artery. The cause of death is consistent with a heart attack.”
The final ruling on his death will made after toxicology reports get completed, she added.
McKnight was arrested by the Haines City Police Department on Tuesday, Jan. 31 and charged with battery domestic violence, possession of marijuana, possession of illegal anabolic steroids, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The arrest report indicated that McKnight had yelled and cursed at his wife, then battered her in front of their children during the evening hours of Jan. 30, then again the next morning. His wife contacted the Haines City Police Department, and the officers who responded reported seeing several bruises on the woman. McKnight’s wife told the officers that her husband had gone to the company where she worked and made threats to kill one of her co-workers — and to kill the wife if he ever caught her cheating on him.
The wife also the officers that McKnight injects steroids and uses other drugs, and that she and their four children are afraid of him. After his arrest by the Haines City Police Department, he was booked in the Central County Jail.
Eleazer reported that McKnight got into another alternation while he was at the jail, fighting with a fellow inmate. Around 5:45 a.m. on Friday, “McKnight began making a scene in the jail, including hollering, banging on tables, and loudly expressing frustration over his incarceration,” she noted. “McKnight’s nickname in the jail, according to other inmates who were interviewed, is ‘Roid Rage,’ ” she said, a reference to his steroid use.
“During McKnight’s tantrum, inmate Joe Bean yelled at McKnight to calm down,” Eleazer noted. “Bean approached McKnight, and the two men engaged in a verbal fight which then turned physical. During the fight, McKnight threw Bean to the ground, got on top of him, and punched him repeatedly about the head and face.”
Polk County Sheriff’s Office detention deputies quickly responded and broke up the fight.
“The entire incident lasted a matter of moments,” Eleazer said. “Both inmates signed waivers refusing to press charges against each other.”
As a result of the fight, Bean suffered several lacerations to his face, and McKnight had an abrasion on the knuckles of one hand. The jail’s medical staff examined both inmates and treated their injuries. McKnight was returned to the dorm.
“Shortly after his return to the dorm, McKnight complained to other inmates and a detention deputy of feeling numbness in his left arm, sweating, and chest pains,” Eleazer said. “He was taken to the jail infirmary, responsive and talking, telling one of the trustee inmates that he was feeling better.”
Not long afterwards, she said, he collapsed.
McKnight had a lengthy criminal record in Florida, including arrests in Polk County in February 2006 for contracting without a license and in August 2000 for battery domestic violence, in Walton County in August 2000 for battery, and by the Winter Haven Police Department in April 1996 for burglary and resisting arrest with violence.
There have also been numerous injunctions for protections filed against him, with the most recent injunction being the one successfully petitioned by his wife on Feb. 2, following his Jan. 31 arrest.
Previous injunctions had been awarded to his wife in September 2011 and March 1996.
An Auburndale man who works with McKnight’s wife also got an injunction against McKnight, after McKnight accused him of sleeping with his wife and threatening him.
Despite the initial report of the death being a heart attack, “This is an ongoing death investigation,” Eleazer said. “It is standard Polk County Sheriff’s Office policy for mandated, independent investigations to be conducted when an inmate dies.”
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