In south Florida, a 19-year-old FSU student committed a double homicide, possibly while high on a synthetic drug called Flakka.
Details surrounding the crime appear to be lifted right out of a zombie horror film.
Austin Harrouff approached the Tequesta, Florida, home of John Joseph Stevens III, 59, and Michelle Stevens, 53, on the night of August 15th. He had no connection to the couple, as far as police know.
Earlier in the evening, the college student had been at Duffy's restaurant, a local sports bar, when he reportedly became agitated with the service and left.
Believed by police to be high on Flakka, Harrouff then viciously attacked the Stevens, who were relaxing in their garage.
Stevens's son told People Magazine this was something the couple did often:
“His garage was always open,” Stevens says, remembering the space as the couple's second living room including a television, couch and bar. “They called their garage the garage-mahal.”
Hearing noise from the attack, Stevens's neighbor Jeff Fischer rushed to intervene, but Harrouff stabbed him. In Fischer's 911 call, he told a dispatcher that he was bleeding profusely and that Harrouff had beaten up a woman.
According to The Washington Post, Sheriff William Snyder said the FSU student used “weapons of opportunity” during the attack, and said:
“It was a random, unprovoked brutal attack on people enjoying a quiet South Florida evening,” Snyder told The Post. “There was an extraordinary amount of violence in that garage.”
Things then took a sickening turn.
When police arrived at the crime scene, reports say Harrouff was found biting John Stevens' face, and removing pieces of it with his teeth. Snyder told reporters police had to get “the flesh out of his teeth.”
CBS 12 reports that police officers struggled to remove Harrouff from John's body. They used manpower, K-9s, and even a stun gun to pull the strong Alpha Delta Phi fraternity member away from him.
Sheriff Snyder told People Magazine:
“The suspect was on top of our victim, clutching him in a bear hug and biting him in the face...It was an impossible task to get him off of the victim.”
Police claim Harrouff appeared “agitated” and was making “guttural sounds and animal noises” on the way to the station. This behavior led officers to believe he was high on Flakka, which many have likened to bath salts. The drug supposedly can cause psychotic behavior, and give users “superhuman” strength.
Harrouff's mother told police that her son had been acting strangely for the past week, telling her he believed he had super powers and that he needed to protect people.
Whatever the teen ingested the night of the killings has reportedly given him serious intestinal problems. He's currently in grave condition at a local hospital.
Harrouff, who has been described by classmates as “gentle and obedient,” had no prior criminal record.
When asked about the teen's motive for such a heinous crime, Sheriff Snyder answered, “we may absolutely never know."