A 19-year-old Florida State University student suspected of a killing a Florida couple Monday night in a brutal, random and unprovoked attack was allegedly found biting off pieces of one of the victim’s faces off when a deputy arrived, according to reports.
Deputies from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home in the affluent coastal community of Tequesta around 9:20 p.m. after receiving a call from a neighbor who said he’d been stabbed while trying to break up a fight, television station WPTV in West Palm Beach reported.
The first deputy to arrive found the suspect, identified as Austin Kelly Harrouff, on top of the male victim in the driveway, biting off parts of the man’s face, according to the television station.
The deputy used a stun gun on Harrouff, but it had no effect on the suspect. A K-9 officer also bit him, but that also failed to stop him.
“The suspect in this case apparently was abnormally strong — so getting that excited, delirium-type increased adrenaline strength,” Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said at a news conference Tuesday morning. “Somebody not feeling pain, not responding to a dog bite, repeated stuns from a Taser, taking three to four deputies and officer dog to get him off. That’s somebody with a lot more strength than you would normally encounter.”
Deputies eventually pried Harrouff off the man’s body and took him into custody.
The suspect was initially identified by Snyder as 23-year-old Austin Michael Moore, according to the Palm Beach Post. However, the Sheriff’s Office later stated that investigators believe the suspect gave them the wrong name at the time. The correct name was provided Tuesday morning.
Authorities were trying to determine whether Harrouff was under the influence of drugs at the time.
“It absolutely could be a flakka case. We don’t know,” Snyder told WPTV Monday night. “It will be some time before we get any kind of toxicology report. I would not be surprised though if we end up finding that is the case.”
Investigators found the victim’s wife dead in the garage.
The victims were identified as 59-year-old Joseph Stevens III and 53-year-old Michelle Karen Mishcon.
The male victim died of multiple stab wounds and blunt trauma, according to preliminary autopsy results, Snyder said at an afternoon news conference Tuesday. An autopsy has not been completed on the female victim.
“I have been in law enforcement … close to 43 years,” Snyder said. “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything with this much violence.”
Deputies initially said the suspect and victims knew one another, but later stated the attack appeared random and unprovoked.
“None of this makes sense,” Snyder said.
Harrouff was apparently visiting his mother, who lived a few blocks away from the victims. He was eating dinner with relatives at a nearby restaurant when he became upset over the slow service and left, Snyder said, according to WPTV.
His parents, concerned about his agitated behavior, called police and his fraternity brothers in an attempt to track him down.
The fatal attack occurred in the couple’s garage about 45 minutes later. A neighbor was also attacked, but survived and called 911.
The neighbor was hospitalized with serious injuries, but is expected to recover, authorities said.
They are still trying to determine a motive for the double homicide.
“It’s inexplicable,” Snyder said. “One of the first things we try to do at a crime scene is try to understand the motive of the offender, because it is the motive of the offender that gets us going in the right direction. In this case, we can’t establish a motive. It’s ‘I don’t know.'”
The CNN Wire contributed to this story.